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Monday, June 22, 2009
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Status Reports on Chandanwari - Holy Cave Track
submitted with Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board

10,000 Yatris performed darshan at Shri Amarnathji yesterday.
Around 7,000 pilgrims proceeded for Yatra from Baltal.
A batch of 1,703 Yatris left for Baltal from Jammu.

Srinagar, June 22 – The special team of Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering (JIM), which had left Pahalgam on a reconnaissance mission of Chandanwari-Holy Cave track on 16th June, has submitted its report to the Chairman of the Shrine Board, Mr. N. N. Vohra. The report stresses the need for making fool-proof medical and other logistical arrangements before the commencement of the Yatra on the traditional route.

The Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA), entrusted with the task of opening the track, has also submitted its report to the Chairman of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board. The report indicates in particular that the Wavbal-Mahagunas stretch (km 13-16) on the traditional route is still fully under snow and that the track is being cleared by labourers stationed at Sheshnag. In between km 20-24 also, there are certain snow avalanches which are being cleared.

While the Sheshnag sector (km 11-12) is partially under snow, the langar site is fully under snow. As a result of the snow conditions, necessary logistical facilities in terms of pre-fab huts, tentage, langars and toilets have yet to be provided.

Following the receipt of both the reports, the Chairman held discussions with the chiefs of Police, CRPF, CID and other concerned officers last evening and has, thereafter, asked his Principal Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Shrine Board, Mr. B. B. Vyas, to visit Chandanwari-Holy Cave area, along with a team of senior Officers of all concerned State Government agencies and undertake a critical assessment of the on-ground situation.

Meanwhile, a Spokesperson of the Shrine Board, giving status of the Chandanwari-Holy Cave track said that as per reports, snow accumulation at the Sheshnag Camp continues to be challenging. He added that the stretch of the track in the Wavbal-Mahagunas area is fully under snow, while the continuous inclement weather has hampered the track clearance work.
The Spokesperson indicated that, in terms of the directions of the Chairman of the Board, a joint team of Board and senior officers of the State Government is proposing to undertake visits to different Camp locations on the traditional route over the next three days to ensure that required logistical arrangements are put in place on war footing and also to critically examine the feasibility of opening the traditional route for the Yatris. He added that the Board may be in a position to indicate the date of commencement of Yatra on the Chandanwari-Holy Cave route only by June 25, 2009. He clarified that there is no possibility whatsoever of permitting pilgrims to go on this route before June 25 in any case. He advised the pilgrims to appreciate that weather conditions were beyond human control and requested them to bear with the delay in operationalising this route. He also appealed to the pilgrims registered for this route not to rush to Baltal and add to the over-crowding at the Baltal Base Camp, which causes hardship and inconvenience to pilgrims registered for the Baltal route.

The Spokesperson of the Board has also urged the intending pilgrims not to venture on their journey on the Baltal route without proper registration. He said that added enforcement measures are being positioned at Baltal not to allow unregistered pilgrims who undertake travel on that route. Mentioning that a number of unregistered pilgrims had been sent back from Baltal by the enforcement authorities, he added that the requirement of registration was in the larger interest of pilgrims themselves. He said that since the traditional Yatra route of Chandanwari-Holy Cave, is not as yet through, the pilgrims registered for the Baltal route should commence their journey for the Yatra via the Baltal route after keeping adequate flexibility in their travel plans, keeping in view the uncertain weather conditions and already existing over-crowding at Baltal.

In the meantime, about 10,000 Yatris performed darshan at the Holy Cave Shrine of Shri Amarnathji yesterday. Around 7,000 pilgrims are reported to have proceeded for Yatra in the early morning hours of June 22, 2009 from the Baltal Base Camp to the Holy Cave. Another batch of 1,703 Yatris left Jammu today for the Baltal Base Camp.

Keeping in view the discussions held with the senior State Government officers late last evening and the need to urgently clear the backlog of pilgrims at the Baltal Base Camp, it has also been decided not to permit any Yatra from Jammu on June 23, 2009.

Click here to read more information on Shri Amarnathji Yatra.

Source: Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Department of Information, Press Note, June 22, 2009
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