Jammu, Jun 26: Junk food and cold drinks will be prohibited enroute the Amarnath cave shrine in Kashmir during the annual pilgrimage from this year.
Authorities say this is being done as per a Supreme Court order of 2012 and that the prohibition will be strictly implemented during the yatra beginning on July 2.
"There was a Supreme Court ruling in this regard in 2012. So the decision was taken to completely ban the sale and consumption of cold drinks and junk food enroute the cave shrine," Pankaj Anand, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Sri Amarnath Shrine Board said.
An expert committee, formed after the Supreme Court expressed concern over the large number of pilgrim deaths in 2012, had cautioned against the consumption of cold drinks and fried junk food enroute the cave shrine citing shortage of oxygen at the shrine situated at an altitude of over 12,000 feet above sea level.
"Health experts say that it becomes difficult to digest such food items in the absence of adequate oxygen supply which gives rise to breathing problems hence make yatra difficult for the pilgrims," Anand said.
The decision to ban these food items was in place in 2013 and 2014 also but it would be strictly enforced from this year.
The SASB has also asked the 'langer' organisers to desist from distributing fried food items and cold drinks as they are not good for health in low oxygen conditions.
It has instructed the organisers to display the menu of the food items being prepared and distributed by them to the pilgrims, he said.
The shrine board authorities will take stringent action against those who violate the orders.
"In the past also action was taken and those who are found violating these orders would be blacklisted in future," he said.