Published On: Thu, Dec 10th, 2015

NGT bans camping activities in Rishikesh

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The National Green Tribunal today banned camping activity in the entire belt of Kaudiyala to Rishikesh on the banks of river Ganga in Uttarakhand till the regulatory regime comes into force but permitted the adventure sport rafting with immediate effect.

“No camping activity shall be carried out in the entire belt of Kaudilaya to Rishikesh and the government would abide by its statement made before the tribunal on March 31, 2015, till the regulatory regime in terms of this judgement comes into forces and is effectively implemented,” a bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar said.

The green panel, however, made it clear that rafting per se does not cause any serious pollution of river or environment and said, “We permit rafting activity to be carried on with immediate effect.”

The tribunal also imposed complete prohibiton on use of any plastic items in the entire belt covered under the judgment.

The bench’s order came on a plea of an NGO Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE) against the “unregulated” operation of rafting camps in Rishikesh and other areas on the banks of river Ganga.

The panel also constituted a committee of officials from both various departments of central government and Uttarakhand government to prepare a regulatory regime which should be submitted to the tribunal within three weeks.

It said that the Rapid Impact Assessment Report shall be treated as a relevant document and the committee would conduct or get conducted further survey to satisfy itself.

“The committee shall consider all aspects of Environment, Wildlife, River and Biodiversity while preparing the relevant regulatory regime,” the bench said, adding that it should also give recomendation for preventive and curative measures to ensure least disturbance to wildlife, on environment and ecology.

It said that the committee shall ensure that it not only identifies the sites which can be appropriately used for camping activity but also the manner and methodology in which such sites should be put to use for carrying on of these activities.

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