Gradual reduction of mules at Mata’s shrine

In a significant verdict, the Supreme Court has asked the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to look into the aspects of reduction of mules , implanting of Radio Frequency Identification tags and taking care of solid waste management at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra Jammu .
It may be recalled that the droppings of the mules and accumulation of heaps of the waste material had been a major issue concerning the Board Management of the shrine and the top court had expressed concern a few months back over the mule droppings on way to the shrine and virtually littering the entire route. The directions about capping the number followed by phasing out of the mules and rehabilitation of mule owners, had otherwise engaged the state government’s attention for an action plan but nothing concrete emerged forcing a petitioner activist to approach the Apex Court .
However, the latest development having taken place on account of the directions passed by a Bench comprising Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta also include the CEC to look into the allegations that dead mules were thrown into the river after pushing them down from the cliff. The Bench has asked Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Jammu and Kashmir government and Mata Shri Vaishno Devi Board to file their response on the issues flagged by the petitioners.
It must be every body’s concern to keep the roads and the route leading to the Holy shrine tidy, clean and pollution free . Mules have conventionally been used for carrying pilgrims from the basement to the shrine and back, providing means of livelihood to their owners. While phasing out mules, owners’ rehabilitation must be looked into and the same ensured too.