Pony operators protest against heavy penalty

Excelsior Correspondent

KATRA, Nov 14: Up in arms against imposition of heavy penalty on them, the operators of ponies, horses and mules on Mata Vaishno Devi route today held a strong protest demonstration against the local administration.

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The protesters alleged that they were not being allowed to work on the track as their card validity was over while the administration was willfully not renewing their cards. They said that they were being challaned Rs 2000 by authorities for no fault on their end. “We are poor how can we pay such a big amount as penalty”? they asked.
According to SDM Katra, Neelam Khajuria, some pony and horse operators were illegally operating on the track by using the cards issued for other horses or mules. “Some mules /horses are reportedly not physically fit and we asked the owners to go for their medical examination but they did not comply the direction in this regard,” she said and added that some mules were dead but their owners are still using the same cards, which is unfair and illegal.
Moreover, the SDM further said, yesterday’s judgment of NGT also says that Rs 2000 should be imposed as fine as environment fee.
Yesterday, NGT in its direction said that horses or mules would not be allowed on the new route to the shrine and these animals would be phased off slowly from the old path as well.


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