There was a need of rehabilitation plan for large number of “operators” of mules and horses on Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine track who have been affected or likely to be affected in near future due to the orders of National Green Tribunal (NGT) but nothing concrete has been done so far and as is wont of most of the projects of the State, it too has failed to meet the deadline.
It may be recalled that last year the National Green Tribunal had directed that a new path to Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine should exclusively be used for pedestrians and battery operated cars and horses or mules should not be allowed and these animals should be removed gradually from the old path as well.
The casual approach by the concerned authorities to proceed with implementing the scheme is simply exasperating. On the next day of hearing, with no perceptible results to show, the government was likely to be censured and receive a denunciation from the Tribunal, as well.
It is the question of the survival, the likely affecting of livelihood of a large number of such mules and horses owners (operators) once these orders were implemented. The Tribunal, therefore, had directed the state government to initiate rehabilitation plan for such affected people whose only source of income was putting in use these animals on daily basis just to eke out a living. It is prosaic but looking contrary to expectations that the government chose to request the Tribunal to rescind its orders but the plea was simply declined.
At least, a plan could be submitted in this connexion but that too has not been done even though the NGT expressed its displeasure conveying the same to the state Chief Secretary. The government asked for more time and got two weeks breather. Even that extra time stands expired but no proposal has reportedly been submitted. April 18, the next date of hearing shall be embarrassing for the government unless a cogent rehabilitation plan is submitted before the NGT. We wish the government chooses the better option.