The National Green Tribunal(NGT) has capped the number of devotees allowed to visit Vaishno Devi shrine at 50,000 a day.
“Only 50,000 devotees will be allowed to enter the shrine every day. Any more people found proceeding towards the shrine would be stopped either at Ardhkumari or Katra,” said an official.
The NGT has also ordered a stay on all new constructions taking place inside shrine complex at the moment.
The footfall, however, dipped to only 27,500 after the grenade attack in Tral township of south Kashmir that left two civilians dead and 30 others injured, an official told PTI.
According to Minister of State (MoS)for Finance Ajay Nanda, terror strikes and natural disasters have made a dent in the number of pilgrims visiting the holy shrine in the past couple of years. “There is a decline of 15 to 20 per cent in the numbers over the past couple of years. Frequent terror strikes and 2014 disaster (floods) are among the many factors,” senior BJP leader and MoS Finance Ajay Nanda said. And though the locals agreed on the low footfall, they beg to differ with the minster on the reason as they blamed “demonetisation” and “GST”, and not terrorism.
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However, the reason behind the ban on allowing more than 50,000 devotees to enter the shrine every day is yet to be known.