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The National Green Tribunal on Friday (Sep 7) came down heavily on the Department of Environment & Forests (DoEF) and Rajasthan government for lax maintenance of the holy town of Nathdwara and the area surrounding the famous Shrinathji Temple.

The NGT bench comprising Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore and Dr Satyawan Singh Garbyal further rebuked DoEF and Rajasthan government for showing laxity in removing encroachments and illegal constructions around Shrinathji Temple in Nathdwara.

The DoEF and Rajasthan government informed the bench that many encroachments have been removed. They further assured that no encroachments on the present date can be found around the Shrinathji Temple area.

The bench, not convinced, with the averments said that even a small part of the Nathdwara hill holds immense sentimental value for the devotees and suggested that a local legislation should be put in place to ensure proper implementation.

Not receiving any satisfactory response, the bench announced that it will be prudent to call the advocate general so he can respond judiciously. They also instructed to get rid of the debris surrounding the Srinathji Temple at the earliest.

The bench further said: “You are unaware of how many people worship at the Nathdwara Temple. If the Uttar Pradesh Government can make legislation for the preservation and restoration of holy sites, then there is no reason why the State of Rajasthan can’t make one.”

The bench ordered the DoPT, Rajasthan government to fence the forest area in the vicinity of the Temple and observed that no progress has been made since the last date of hearing.

—India Legal Bureau

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