Thursday, 23 June 2022 | PNS | Nainital
Hearing on a public interest litigation regarding mismanagement in Char Dham Yatra and the consistent deaths of horses and mules on the Yatra route, the Uttarakhand high court has directed the State government to submit a detailed report within three weeks. Issuing this direction, the division bench of acting chief justice Sanjaya Kumar Mishra and justice RC Khulbe has set July 28 as the next date for hearing the PIL.
During the hearing on Wednesday, the government counsel informed the court that veterinary doctors and other facilities had been enhanced. The injured equines are being tended to and water is being provided to the animals on the Yatra route. It was also stated that the standard operating procedure (SOP) regarding this is pending at the administration level and that a decision is yet to be taken on the same. There is also a proposal for sending 16,000 pilgrims per day to Badrinath, 13,000 per day to Kedarnath, 8,000 to Gangotri and 5,000 to Yamunotri. The government is making a shelter for 500 equines at the Gaurikund Ghodapadav while two solar powered geysers of 1,000 litre capacity each have been installed at Linchauli en route Kedarnath. However, the court was not satisfied with the government’s reply and directed it to submit a detailed affidavit. The HC asked what arrangements had been made for injured animals and what happened to the unfit animals. The HC also asked as to when the SOP will be implemented. How many people and equines can be allowed to visit the shrine in a day, the court further asked.
It will be recalled that animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi had filed the PIL stating that 600 equines had died so far during the Yatra this year which had increased the risk of disease in the area. The petitioner has sought safety for both animals and humans along with medical facilities.