New Delhi, Nov 26 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Central Empowered Committee on environment to look into the management of the dung waste of over 4,200 mules used for transporting pilgrims at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine.
The bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta was told by the respondent, Gauri Maulekhi, that there were over 4,200 mules that carry pilgrims from Katra to Bhawan, a place on the way to the shrine.
The CEC would also examine if the number of mules can be reduced and tamper-proof radio frequency identification attached with them.
Senior counsel Krishnan Venugopal told the court that one mule excretes about 8kg of dung every day that comes to 20 tones per day of all the mules put together, which in the course of a year accumulates to a few thousand tonnes.
Senior counsel Venugopal told the court that about 600-tonne dung is used for a biogas plant and the rest is left scattered or flows into a stream close to the shrine.
While animal rights activist Maulekhi favours a complete withdrawal of the mules, the state government has said it plans to reduce the number of mules from 4,250 to 2,500.
However, the court appeared dissatisfied with the response of the J&K government. The court said its approach appears to be adversarial.