Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has ruled out any plan for running battery cars for transporting pilgrims on the new track to the cave shrine in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.
The labourers, ponywallahs and pithoos, last week had held protests and sat on a dharna against the use of battery cars for transporting pilgrims to Mata Vaishnodevi shrine in Trikute Hills.
"There is no plan for running battery cars for transporting pilgrims on the new track which shall however be used for carrying of materials to the construction sites and for emergency evacuation and related purposes", Chief Executive Officer, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Ajeet Kumar Sahu, said today.
As regards the New Track which is nearing completion it was decided to maintain the upcoming Track for use by pilgrims who walk to the Shrine.
While maintaining the sanctity of the existing track from Darshani Deori to Adhkuwari, the new track will ease the rush and provide a good walking experience to the pilgrims who like to move on foot, the CEO said.
"The new track will be linked from the Banganga side to have the connecting link completed on an early basis. The wayside amenities on the new track would be completed in the next two months", Sahu said.
He said that all concerned agencies will see that the Banganga area is developed in a systematic manner for restoring the river and protecting the environment.
In the context of the case pending before the National Green Tribunal regarding the regulation of movement of ponies on the track, the CEO said that Governor N N Vohra, who is the chairman of the Board, has directed the Deputy Commissioner, Reasi to immediately start registration of horses and their owners and operators through the 'Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)', as envisaged under the J&K Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
The Governor has directed the CEO to move the Secretary of the Animal Husbandry Department to establish and operate well- equipped veterinary clinics, with the required complement of veterinary doctors and staff at Katra and Adhkuwari.
Sahu said that directions have come to us to put in place pre-paid system of hiring equines to ensure that there is no overcharging or cheating of pilgrims and the due payment is made to the pony owner/operator immediately on the completion of the journey.
Besides this direction have been given by Board to ensure that all mule-sheds and pony-stables situated along the Banganga are urgently shifted away from the river as per NGTs directions, he said.