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Jammu & Kashmir - Current Events
Thrusday, June 18, 2009
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Shri Amarnathji Yatra-2009:
6875 Yatris performed darshan on Wednesday,
4800 more leave from Baltal to Holy Cave

Srinagar, June 18 – As many as 6875 Yatris had darshan at the Holy Cave Shrine of Shri Amarnathji yesterday.

According to a Spokesperson of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, another batch of 4800 Yatris left from the Baltal Base Camp for the Holy Cave this morning. The Spokesperson of the Board further stated that keeping in view the adverse weather conditions, no batch of Yatris left from Jammu today for the Baltal Base Camp.

The Spokesperson, giving the status of the Chandanwari-Holy Cave track, has said that as per the Pahalgam Development Authority, which is entrusted with the task of opening this track, the stretch from Km 1 to 10 is snow-free except certain avalanches in the 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th Km. Sheshnag (Km 11-12) is still partially under snow and the track across Sheshnag is being maintained over compressed snow. The Sheshnag Camp site is partly under snow, while the langar site is fully under snow. However, the Security Forces and the Jammu and Kashmir Police have arrived, the tentage is being erected and the culvert side is being cleared of snow avalanches at Sheshnag.

The Spokesperson said that the stretch of the track from Km 13-16 in the Wavbal-Mahagunas area is fully under snow and fresh snowfall has hampered the pace of track clearance work.

In the meantime, at the asking of the Shrine Board, a special team of Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering (JIM), which had left Nunwan (Pahalgam) on a reconnaissance mission on 16th June, had reached Sheshnag on 16th June night and has since moved further up in Mahagunas Sector. The JIM team is likely to return to Pahalgam by 20th June, after reaching upto the Holy Cave and reviewing the route once again on their return journey. The team is expected to submit a full and comprehensive report to the Governor on its findings on the existing status of the track and the feasibility of opening the same for the Yatra.

As per preliminary reports, snow accumulation at the Sheshnag Camp is over five feet and the entire track is under a thick layer of snow. Further, the obtaining weather conditions, particularly on the traditional route, continue to be challenging. In the circumstances, the Spokesperson has advised all the intending pilgrims who are registered for traveling along the Chandanwari-Holy Cave route to register themselves afresh with the designated branches of the J&K Bank for undertaking the Yatra on any date convenient to them after 25th June, subject to availability of slots. To remove any confusion in the matter, the Spokesperson stressed that the backlog of Yatris who had registered on the Pahalgam route will not be able to commence Yatra in any case before 25th June. He added that while such a re-schedulement may cause inconvenience to the pilgrims, the prevailing weather situation is beyond human control and as such the Board is left with no option but to advise the pilgrims to register themselves afresh for commencing their Yatra on any date after 25th June.

The Spokesperson further stated that a number of pilgrims who had registered for traveling on the Pahalgam route are presently camping at various locations in the State in the hope and expectation that they would be permitted to undertake Yatra within a day or so. Cautioning against being influenced by unfounded perceptions and reports, the Spokesperson has unambiguously advised the intending pilgrims to re-draw their stay and travel plans as all the Yatris registered on the traditional Pahalgam route from 7th June onwards need to register afresh for commencing travel on any date after 25th June.

The Spokesperson has advised the pilgrims registered on the Baltal route also to keep a flexibility of 2-3 days in their travel plans, keeping in view the delays in proceeding on the Yatra in view of the continuing inclement weather conditions.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of the SASB, Mr. B. B. Vyas, in a communication to the J&K Bank has asked the Bank to set up two Special Counters, one each at Jammu and Srinagar, to facilitate the revalidations/re-registrations of the Yatris. Spelling out the parameters for such revalidations/re-registrations, he said that all pilgrims who had registered for the Baltal route on any date between 7-14 June could have their Registration slips re-validated for the same (Baltal) route for a fresh date, as may be convenient to them. Likewise, all pilgrims who had earlier registered for the Pahalgam route on any date starting from 7 June, who wish to change the route and proceed on a fresh date on the Baltal route, may register themselves afresh for the Baltal route, on any date convenient to them on which slots are available.

In regard to the pilgrims who have registered for Yatra on the traditional route and who do not wish to change the route, they may approach the Bank to register them afresh for any date after 25th June. All such revalidations/re-registrations will be done without any cost to the pilgrims. These arrangements will be reviewed after the Yatra commences on the Pahalgam route.

Click here to read more information on Shri Amarnathji Yatra.

Source: Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Department of Information, Press Note, June 18, 2009
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