Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Forest Environment and Ecology has issued an order to make ponies carrying pilgrims to the holy cave of Amarnath, a Hindu shrine in Jammu and Kashmir, India, to wear diapers. Shabir Ahmad Raina. CEO of Sonmarg Development Authority, said 500 animal diapers have been ordered so that no pollution or environmental degradation is caused during the pilgrimage. If everything goes according to plans, it will become a permanent rul.
For decades, ponies and mules carrying pilgrims to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath have created a stench, often unbearable for pilgrims, coming out from faecal balls of the animals who slog day and night in the picturesque meadows in between Baltal and the Amarnath shrine.
This is the first time in the history of Amarnath pilgrimage wherein the government has taken such an initiative. Five hundred diapers have been ordered in the first phase. We tried to search for these diapers on the internet but did not find many agencies selling them online. Those who are selling them are doing it at a very high cost that we could not afford,” said Raina.
The authorities then found some locals who could manufacture these diapers and ordered 500 of them at a cost of Rs 350 per diaper. The diapers will be delivered by next week. The authorities are yet to decide whether to distribute these diapers on a trial basis to the pony and mule owners or charge them a reasonable amount.
“People, especially youth, bring their mules and ponies to Baltal and Pahalgam routes every year during the tenure of pilgrimage to earn a living,” said Ahmad. He said what pony owners earn during the pilgrimage in two months cannot be earned in other parts of Kashmir during rest of the year.
The diapers to b e used are a type of bag that can hold at least 10 kg or fecal matter by ponies and mules on the route. One diaper is sufficient to one complete trip per pony or mule.