DEHRADUN: A report by Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Bengaluru said that the number of pilgrims visiting Char Dham of Uttarakhand — Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri is expected to cross 80 lakh by the year 2023.
Government agencies, policy-makers and other authorities are now being urged by environmentalists and activists to cap the numbers of visitors and plan better to accommodate the increasing number of tourists in the area said.
“To manage the waste generated by visitors, more infrastructure and resources will be needed. In recent years the huge influx of tourists in such an ecologically sensitive zone has already raised questions about the sustainability and environmental impacts from the tourism industry,” said Anoop Nautiyal, one of the guides to formulate the report and founder member of Social Development for Communities.
Unscientific and unplanned disposal of trash has also emerged as a major concern, added activists. Many also added that capping the number of visitors to these shrines like Amarnath and Kailash Mansarovar Yatra will help ease the burden.
Sameer Shukla, Mussoorie based heritage conservationist who has been working for almost three decades to preserve the culture and heritage of the Himalayas said,
“These shrines provide spiritual and ecological sanctity. The government should understand that these shrines cannot be treated for revenue extraction. Steps should be taken to limit the number of people visiting these shrines.”(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)