The Centre has asked the States of Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Odisha to take urgent steps to ensure that the ongoing Kedarnath Yatra and upcoming Amarnath Yatra and Rath Yatra are conducted in a manner so as to ensure high levels of cleanliness.
In this regard, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) Manoj Joshi has written to the Chief Secretaries of Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Odisha, on Friday.
The communication from MoHUA specifies various initiatives to be taken for sanitation and waste management.
The States have been requested to provide for sufficient numbers of public toilets for both men and women throughout the approach roads to the Shrines, and ensure that that they are kept clean, hygienic and usable at all times.
All eateries along the approach roads will need to be sensitized about garbage collection, in-situ processing of the food waste through waste to compost / waste to bio-gas units in their premises, usage of bio-degradable cutlery and bags.
The advisory suggests that plastics and SUPs should be stopped at the base-camp level for Kedarnath and Amarnath yatris at the time of registration itself.
In order to prevent indiscriminate littering by visitors, segregated litter bins will have to be placed along the approach roads, along with regular emptying of the same. Most importantly, the advisory stresses on large scale people participation, whereby all local NGOs/ CSOs/ voluntary organisations, self-help groups from all villages and towns on the approach roads are to be identified, sensitized and tagged to work in designated area to ensure that cleanliness is maintained at every step.
Local swachhata brand ambassadors are to be identified and designated for the ‘swachh yatra’, and spread the messages of cleanliness etc, to motivate visitors to behave responsibly and help in maintaining ‘swachhata’.
National teams from MoHUA are being deputed to Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Odisha starting this week to take stock of the preparations underway and also to provide inputs for improving sanitation and garbage management.
Video-conferencing meeting has been scheduled early next week to discuss with State, city and district officials to discuss the preparedness.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his 89th Mann Ki Baat address to the nation on 29th May 2022, had expressed his concern regarding the heap of filth in Kedarnath.
He made an appeal for maintaining the dignity of these pilgrimage sites through purity and cleanliness, as it is imperative that we abide by the resolution of cleanliness.
Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban, being implemented by MoHUA, is committed to create “Garbage Free Cities” through comprehensive sanitation measures, and safe management of solid and liquid waste in all statutory towns in the country.
The Centers of Pilgrims and Heritage where the footfalls are higher are taken up on priority under the Mission.