<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To ensure safety of pilgrims, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ruled on Monday that only 50,000 devotees would be allowed to visit the Vaishno Devi shrine each day in Katra, Jammu. The tribunal also directed authorities to gradually phase out use of horses and ponies from the old path and open the new path to the shrine from November 24, to be used only by pedestrians and battery-operated cars.“The new path, which was constructed at a cost of Rs 40 crore, should be positively opened to public by November 24. No further time will be granted and, in default, appropriate action will be taken against the concerned authorities,” the bench said. Further, the bench also directed that a fine of Rs 2,000 should be imposed for littering in Katra town. The Vaishno Devi shrine is one of the most revered Hindu pilgrimage sites in the country and sees an annual footfall of over a crore. A three-member bench of the NGT, headed by chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, ordered the cap on pilgrims while hearing a plea by animal and environment activist Gauri Maulekhi.

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Only 50,000 pilgrims allowed at Vaishno Devi a day: NGT