The administration in Ladakh has decided to impose fines on pilgrims visiting the Union Territory for Sindhu Pushkaram, a festival of the river Sindhu (Indus), for littering and throwing trash in the open near the Sindhu river.
An advisory was issued after Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal raised serious concern over polluting the area and termed it “inhuman”. While welcoming the pilgrims, he asked “Will goddess Sindhu be happy with this behavior of devotees?”
Welcome all the pilgrims to Ladakh who perform #SindhuPushkar according to their belief but strongly condemn the inhuman behavior of some of them who pollute the clean environment by dumping garbages in the lap of the Sindhu.
भक्तों के इस व्यवहार से सिन्धु माँ खुश होंगे क्या ? pic.twitter.com/sa0NmGiUsN
— Jamyang Tsering Namgyal (@jtnladakh) November 23, 2021
Pilgrims found littering will be fined Rs 500, the advisory says. “Pilgrims found littering or throwing trash in open at ghats or pooja sites shall be imposed a fine of Rs 500 on the spot,” it reads.
On Tuesday, the BJP MP had tweeted photographs where several plastic bags and bottles could be seen dumped in and around the river Indus.
Thousands of pilgrims are in Ladakh for the pilgrimage. Mr Namgyal had urged those visiting Ladakh not to pollute “the clean environment by dumping garbage”.
The Sindhu Darshan festival is a three-day event celebrated in June every year. However, this year the festival was postponed due to the pandemic. The festival recognises the Sindhu (Indus) river as a symbol of unity, peaceful co-existence, and communal harmony.
This was not the first time that Mr Namgyal urged tourists to respect the culture and beauty of Ladakh. Earlier in July, he had a stern message for those visiting Ladakh: “This is our home, not your dustbin”.
Chips packets, empty plastic bottles, and plastic bags are now becoming a common sight in the popular tourist destination. Rising footfall in the region after easing of restrictions imposed due to Covid has also contributed to a rise in pollutants left by visitors.