Amarnath casualties: SC sets up special panel

Published: 21st July 2012 10:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st July 2012 10:25 AM   |  A+A-


The Supreme Court on Friday constituted a special high-powered committee (SHPC) to recommend measures to prevent the growing number of casualties of Amarnath pilgrims.

A Bench comprising Justice B S Chauhan and Justice Swatanter Kumar remarked that this has become a permanent problem and regular feature.

The SC had earlier taken suo moto note of media reports of the death of pilgrims supposedly due to lack of proper facilities and medical care for the pilgrims.

The Bench took the assistance of Solicitor General Rohington Nariman and Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra to ameliorate the conditions for the pilgrims visiting the Amarnath shrine in J&K , before it passed the order constituting the high-powered committee. The Bench, in its detailed order said, “Lack of public amenities, facilities, healthcare, particularly the high rate of mortality, which has been highlighted in the

various press cuttings and in our order dated July 13, requires attention of all concerned.”

“The inspection by the SHPC and its suggestions should be aimed at protecting the interest of the yatris, ensuring proper management, healthcare and due regard to environmental protection. We do not wish to limit the scope of probe and the consequential suggestions by the SHPC,” the Bench noted.

The Bench said Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forest; Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs; Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; J&K Chief Secretary; Member Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board, New Delhi; J&K DGP; DG CRPF; DG BSF; DG Border Roads Organisation; J&K Home Secretary and J&K PWD Secretary shall be part of the panel.

The Jammu and  Kashmir Governor, who is the chairman of the  Amarnath Shrine Board, would be the chairman of the panel and would nominate a CEO and an  environmentalist for and on behalf of the Shrine Board, the Bench added.

The Bench posted the matter to August 13, for further orders.

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