Sanitation arrangements reviewed for Yatra 2017

A meeting was held at Raj Bhavan here under the Chairmanship of Umang Narula, Chief Executive Officer, Amarnathji Shrine Board, (SASB) and Baseer Ahmed Khan, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir for finalizing the Action Plan for collection and disposal of waste generated during the ensuring Shri Amarnathji Yatra which is scheduled to commence on 29th June 2017.

The participants held detailed discussions in regard to garbage collection and its disposal, maintenance of Toilets and Baths, operation and maintenance of the Sewage Treatment Plants at Baltal and Nunwan Base Camp and disposal of plastic waste generated during the Yatra period.  It was decided that all solid waste generated during Yatra shall be managed by the Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA), Sonamarg Development Authority (SDA) and the Shrine Board in the areas of their respective responsibilities.

During the meeting it was informed that for scientific treatment of waste water/ sewage, two Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), based on decentralized waste water treatment technology, have been commissioned at the Baltal and Nunwan Base Camps by SASB.  The treatment units of these STPs include collection tanks, Anaerobic baffled reactors, reed beds etc. During the course of Yatra these STPs are regularly monitored and samples are collected from these STPs to check the efficiency of the STPs.

Umang Narula also directed that adequate signages should be placed at the two Base Camps as well as along the Yatra routes advising Yatris to respect the environment and do nothing to pollute it.  The elaborate Do’s and Don’ts issued by the SASB already highlight that all waste materials must be placed in the nearest dustbin, and also that the use of polythene materials is banned in the State.

CEO urged Deputy Commissioners of Ganderbal and Anantnag districts, CEOs of PDA and SDA and General Manager (Works), SASB, to keep a close watch to ensure segregation of waste collected into biodegradable and non- biodegradable waste and transport non- biodegradable waste to the collection centre earmarked for the purpose and ensure its proper disposal.

CEOs of the Development Authorities informed that deep composting pits will be dug at the identified locations for disposal of biodegradable waste and, ensure that the pits are effectively covered with stones and soil to keep it out of reach of wild animals.

Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir emphasized on all the agencies responsible for sanitation of Yatra track to closely monitor the day to day sanitation work at the Yatra camps and enroute and to maintain close co-ordination to ensure cleanliness and hygiene in the Yatra area and the Base Camps.  CEO, PDA and CEO SDA apprised about the latest status of construction of land fill sites at Yenar near Pahalgam and at Serbal and status of clearance from Ministry of Forest and Environment.

During the meeting, status of the timelines for setting up of tents, shops etc. in the Yatra route was also reviewed. It was emphasized that the Deputy Commissioners of Anantnag and Ganderbal should fix the rate of tents, shops hiring of horses, porters and palkies after due consultation with all stakeholders involved in the activities.

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