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Amarnath shrine board appoints eco-panel

By Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar
February 03, 2009 02:28 IST
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The recently reconstituted Shri Amarnath Shrine Board on Monday took a major decision appointing a high profile panel for the preservation of the environment enroute and around the Holy cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas .

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the SASB with the state governor, N N Vohra in the chair in New Delhi on Monday.

By another decision the SASB appointed a second panel for advising the board regarding the arrangements for the conduct of annual Yatra.

Taking stock of the current situation of the initiatives taken by the Shrine board in regard to the entire range of ecological concerns, the governor, who is also the chairman of the SASB observed that "effective steps are required to be taken all along the yatra route and the base camps for effectively ensuring against pollution and for preservation of the ecology".

According to a statement, a sub-committee under the chairmanship of the internationally recognised environmentalist, Sunita Narain was constituted for "evolving practical strategies and formulation of an environment protection action plan for effective implementation".

The governor said a 15 member advisory committee will be constituted for advising the Shrine Board on logistical and other arrangements required for the smooth conduct of the yatra.

Vohra according to the statement described "the Amarnath Yatra as a shinning symbol of the pluralistic ethos of the state."

Monday's meeting, which was the first of the re-constituted board was attended by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Doctor Kapila Vatsyayan, Doctor Sunita Narain, Justice (Retired) G D Sharma, Pandit Bhajan Sopori and Doctor Ved Kumari Ghai. The SASB was reconstituted by the state governor as its chairman last month.

The Board was dissolved in the wake of months of Amarnath land row agitation last summer that claimed 52 lives in the state.

Thousands others were wounded during the agitation that led to the fall of the Congress-People's Democratic Party coalition government in the state.

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Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar