Operation Broomstick to clean up Amarnath route
25 August 2004
The Indian Express
Jammu: Men in olive green, along with hundreds of boys and girls, will soon pockmark the heights of Kashmir’s Himalayan Range housing the Amarnath Shrine cave. The operation, codenamed Broomstick, led by Col S. Shekhawat, principal of Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering (JIM), will be launched not to track down militants, but to clear the area of the accumulated garbage and filth that at places has gobbled the flora and fauna of the region. The ongoing month-long yatra has left the route leading to the Amarnath cave filled with garbage. Pilgrims have been defecating in the open along the Lidder stream, and environmental experts say was responsible for the epidemic and giardiasis that broke out in the area earlier this month. The ‘‘Green Brigade’’, led by JIM and NGO Al Sarwat Students Coordination for Environmental Planning, in coordination with the Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA), will throng different places on September 2 once the yatra is over. They have a mission save the fragile ecology of the area.