Duration & Schedule of
Shri Amarnathji Yatra-2012
Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board reviews ongoing Shri Amarnathji Yatra
Srinagar (Kashmir), July 22 - The Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board met here today under the chairmanship of Mr. N. N. Vohra, Governor, who is also the Chairman of the Board, and reviewed the status of the ongoing Shri Amarnathji Yatrato the Holy Cave Shrine and expressed satisfaction over the continuing efforts for ensuring progressive improvement in the management of the pilgrimage.
Those present in the meeting included the Board Members, H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Pt. Bhajan Sopori, Mr. Justice (Retd) G. D. Sharma and Dr. (Prof.) Ved Kumari Ghai.
The Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, in a significant decision, decided to set up its Sub-Committee under the chairmanship of H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Member of the Board, to advise the Board regarding the duration and schedule of the Shri Amarnathji Yatra from Yatra-2012 onwards. The other members of the Sub-Committee would be Swami Avdheshanandji Maharaj, Joona Peethadishwar, Haridwar; Dr. Chandermouli Raina, Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, Jammu; Shri Prem Gupta, IPS (Retd), Jammu; Shri R. L. Bharti, IFS (Retd), Jammu; Shri Y. V. Sharma, President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Jammu, and Shri R. K. Goyal, Chief Executive Officer of the Shrine Board, as its Member Secretary.
The Board has further decided that the Chairman of the Sub-Committee may co-opt any other suitable person, who has knowledge and experience in the arena of religious traditions and practice, security, management, environment protection and any other relevant area. It was further disclosed that the Sub-Committee is likely to commence its work in the first week of September 2011 and tender its recommendations to the Shrine Board by 15th December 2011. The Sub-Committee shall hear all interested parties.
During the meeting, the Governor informed the Board Members about the approaches adopted by the management for the ongoing Shri Amarnathji Yatra to ensure that all required logistical facilities and arrangements were timely put in place at the Base Camps, Camps enroute and at the Holy Cave to facilitate the Yatris.
The new initiatives for improving the management of Shri Amarnathji Yatra include increasing the number of Registration Counters from 121 to 149; provision of Accident Insurance Cover of Rs. one lakh for every registered Yatri, at the cost of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board; providing with sport from the State Government, Accidental Insurance Cover to all the registered labourers (persons carrying baggage, ponywallahs and dandiwallahs) as also to the pony owners in cases where a pony is killed in an accidental death, as a welfare measure for the poor sections of the society.
The Governor thanked the Union Ministry of Communications and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) for making available cellular phone connectivity at Baltal, Domel, Chandanwari, Holy Cave, Panjtarni and Sheshnag ahead of the commencement of Shri Amarnathji Yatra. He said that this real time telecommunication facility had been extremely useful for the pilgrims and enabling effective Yatra management. He added that the Board has also set up Digital Satellite Phones during the ongoing Shri Amarnathji Yatra this year, at the crucial Camps at Sheshnag, Panjtarni and the Holy Cave, and these have proved extremely useful in monitoring the Yatra arrangements and the movement of Yatris.
The Governor said that Mr. R. K. Goyal, Chief Executive Officer, and the Board's limited staff, had been continuously engaged for the past nearly a year, in processing action to complete all the Yatra related arrangements within the pre-determined time schedules. He said that he, along with the CEO and other concerned officers, had been undertaking frequent visits to the Base Camps, Camps enroute and the Holy Cave to continuously monitor the Shri Amarnathji Yatra arrangements being put in place on the ground and this approach had made it possible to commence the Yatra as per schedule. He said that the Board's efforts had materialized because of the ready support extended by the Jammu & Kashmir State Government, the Security Forces and, more particularly, the full-some cooperation of the Kashmir Valley people towards the smooth conduct of Shri Amarnathji Yatra.
He said that the Yatra had so far progressed satisfactorily and a major challenge faced this year arose from an extraordinary large number of persons, including a very significant percentage of tourists visiting the Valley, embarking on the Yatra without securing a Yatra Registration Permit. This matter is being further discussed with the State Government, to ensure steps against similar situations arising in the future.
CEO presented before the Board the key strategies adopted for Shri Amarnathji Yatra, particularly regarding involvement of local stakeholders in a big way with the Yatra arrangements. In this context he informed that the Chairman SASB had authorized a significant increase in the quota of helicopter bookings for the local Tourist and Travel Trade and Hotel Industry Associations, which has been widely appreciated by all the stakeholders.