New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday stayed all tourism and eco-tourism activities at the Parasnath Hill in Jharkhand’s Giridih district, where Sammed Shikharji, one of the holiest pilgrimage sites for Jains, is located.
Accordingly, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has directed the Jharkhand government to strictly enforce the relevant provisions of the management plan for the Parasnath Wildlife Sanctuary that specifically prohibit damage to flora or fauna; coming with pets; playing loud music or use of loudspeakers; defiling religious and cultural significance such as sacred monuments, lakes, rocks, caves, and shrines; sale of liquor, drugs, and other intoxicants etc.; and unauthorised camping and trekking, among others.
The move came after the ministry over the last few days received several representations from different organisations representing the Jain Samaj about the issues related to certain activities taking place in the Parasnath Wildlife Sanctuary, which adversely affected the sentiments of the followers of Jainism.
The grievances included faulty implementation of the provisions of the notification declaring Parasnath Wildlife Sanctuary as an Eco Sensitive Zone by the Jharkhand government. It has been said that such negligence by the state authorities has hurt the sentiments of the Jain community.
In this regard, a meeting was convened by Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav with different representatives of the Jain community for discussing the entire issue and also to come out with a possible solution.
The representatives turned up in large number and spoke about the current situation at Sammed Shikharji and also about the demands of the community to maintain the piousness of the place.
“In reference to the Eco Sensitive Zone notification dated August 2, 2019, issued to protect a buffer zone beyond the sacred Parashnath Hill, the implementation of provisions of Clause 3 of the said Eco Sensitive Zone notification is stayed forthwith, including, among others, all tourism and eco-tourism activities. The state government is directed to immediately take all the steps necessary to ensure the same,” the ministry said.
“In addition, for effective monitoring of the provisions of the above Eco Sensitive Zone notification under sub-section (3) of section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the Central government has constituted a monitoring committee under Clause 5 of the said notification.
“The state government is directed to have two members from the Jain community and one member from the local tribal community as permanent invitees to this monitoring committee, enabling appropriate involvement and oversight by important stakeholders,” it added.
It may be mentioned here that on Tuesday, a 72-year-old Jain monk, who was on fast protesting the Jharkhand government’s decision to declare Sammed Shikharji as a tourist place, had died in Jaipur.