STATE TIMES NEWS KATRA: National Conference Provincial President, Devender Singh Rana on Monday expressed serious concern over worsening environmental scenario due to solid waste dumping in holy township of Katra, saying that its immediate fallout on Jhajjar rivulet has hugely contaminated the water, main source of drinking water for a huge population living on its banks in Dhansal and other peripheral areas of Nagrota assembly constituency. “It is intriguing that solid waste management in the most thronged township of North India has been allowed to remain in disarray, leading to numerous diseases and negative environmental impacts,” Rana said in an interaction with the prominent citizens, Sarpanchs and public representatives during his visit to Katra. Rana spoke with the Commissioner Secretary Housing and Urban Development on phone and local civil administration about dangerous situation caused due to solid waste dumps, creating serious negative environmental impacts like infectious diseases, land and water pollution besides obstruction of drains. He said that people, dependent on Jhajjar water, are facing major brunt due to polluted rivulet. He said that cases of respiratory and heart diseases have increased due to consumption of contaminated water, mainly because of the solid waste dumps. “In this era of developing key townships and cities as smart cities, the highly deplorable sanitation situation in Katra is a cause of concern, not only for the local population but also for thousands of pilgrim tourists visiting on daily-basis to pay obeisance at Bhawan of Mata Vaishno Devi. The horrible environmental degradation at the base camp of the world famous pilgrimage speaks volumes about administrative apathy,” he added. Rana said that he has been the votary of developing Katra as a Smart City keeping in view its historic importance as originating point for the most blissful pilgrimage. He lamented over inaction by the concerned Governmental agencies in recent years with situation getting out of control. Rana feared the fate of Jhajjar rivulet becoming that of Devak in Udhampur, which is not being restored to its pristine glory despite spending crores. He hoped that instead of allowing such a catastrophe to happen, the Government will address to the malady on war-footing basis and take immediate measures for proper solid waste management. The Provincial President urged Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board to coordinate the initiatives with regard to solid waste management besides health and hygiene of Katra Township. He said that such an initiative will be beneficial for incoming pilgrims as also for people living in the area besides peripheries of Jhajjar rivulet.
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