The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday again allowed camping activities along the banks of the Ganga in Uttarakhand with some limitations. It, however, maintained the ban on camping within 100 metres of the Ganga.

A Bench headed by NGT Chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar said there are 33 sites along the banks of the Ganga, of which eight fall within the 100 metres range, where camping is not allowed. “Camping activities can be done only at 25 identified sites.

These camps will have to be set up beyond 100 metres of the river,” Kumar said. The decision came after environment activist Vikrant Tongad in 2015 had moved the NGT against the arbitrary and unregulated camping along the river. “It is a welcome decision but it is only half part done as this decision’s implementation in its true spirit is still a cause for concern for me,” Tongad told IANS.

He said earlier people would camp along the river at any place and leave behind plastic bottles and pouches on the bank and also disposed of waste into the river, deteriorating the environment in Rishikesh. Tongad said the state Forest Department and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) had identified 33 places in a five-km stretch between Shivpuri and Rishikesh where camps could be set up.

“The NGT finds only 25 places fit for camping along the Ganga. Now, it will be more important if the state government implements the order in its true spirit,” Tongad added.—IANS

QUOTE

It is a welcome decision but it is only half part done as this decision’s implementation in its true spirit is still a cause for concern.Earlier, people would camp along the river at any place and leave behind plastic bottles and pouches on the bank and disposed of waste into the river, deteriorating the environment in Rishikesh. —Vikrant Tongad, Environment Activist