JAMMU, July 7: After remaining suspended for three consecutive days due to landslides and shooting stones on the track, the Yatra from Baltal to holy cave resumed early this morning after improvement in the weather and 2200 pilgrims left for cave shrine via this route. Besides, the yatra from Jammu to base camp of Nunwan Pahalgam also resumed after remaining suspended for two days. However the yatra on Nunwan-Chandanwari track proceeded smoothly as usual and 10,107 pilgrims performed darshan at holy cave on 10th day of yatra.
According to Deputy Commissioner, Ganderbal, Piyush Singhla who is also Yatra Officer. 2200 pilgrims left from Baltal base camp to holy cave this morning. He said about 7000 to 8000 Swami Amarnath bound pilgrims are camping at Baltal and they will be allowed to proceed for holy cave tomorrow provided weather remains fair.
He said the stranded yatris at Baltal due to landslides and shooting stones on holy cave and closure of Srinagar-Ladakh Highway due to landslides yesterday were given option to leave for pilgrimage of holy cave via Pahalgam-Chandanwari track. But only 130 pilgrims opted to leave via Pahalgam from Baltal.
He said all pilgrims are safe and administration has made elaborate arrangements for them.
A police officer said 1600 pilgrims left Nunwan-Pahalgam base camp for holy cave early this morning while hundreds of more pilgrims staying in hotels and lodges in Pahalgam also left for Chandanwari.
He said about 2000 pilgrims reached Pahalgam from Jammu by this evening and they will leave for holy cave early tomorrow morning. He said the yatra from Pahalgam -Chandanwari track is proceeding smoothly.
The pilgrims camping at Chandanwari, Sheshnag and Panjtarni transit camps also left for their onwards sojourn this morning. He said the weather was pleasant on yatra tracks today.
The officer said on the 10th day of pilgrimage today 10,107 yatris paid obeisance at holy cave of Swami Amarnath ji situated at an altitude of 3880 meters in South Kashmir district of Anantnag and till date , 83,130 pilgrims performed darshan of self made Ice Lingam in the cave shrine.
In a review meeting held at Srinagar today evening, Umang Narula, CEO, Shrine Board, informed Governor N N Vohra who is also Chairman of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, (SASB) that the Yatra had resumed from both Baltal route early today morning and helicopters services had also operated from both the sides while yatra proceeded from Nunwan -Chandanwari track smoothly.
On the directions of the Governor, MI-17 helicopters of Indian Air Force continued to operate today and evacuated the remaining 241 (of the total 567) Yatris stranded at Panjtarni.
The CEO also informed that to meet the cash requirements of yatris, J&K Bank has air lifted and made operational a Micro ATM at Panjtarni this morning. It may be mentioned that ATMs are already available at the Baltal and Nunwan Yatra Base camps.
To address the serious problems caused by landslides, particularly between Railpathri & Brarimarg, the critical spots have been identified and preventive measures – laying of wire mesh, lighting of the track, raising of breast walls etc.- are being undertaken on emergent basis to ensure the safety of pilgrims, in addition to the deployment of rescue teams.
CEO further informed that on the 10th day of the ongoing Yatra 10,107 Yatris paid obeisance at holy cave and, till date, 83,130 Yatris had performed darshan of the Shivling at the holy cave.
Meanwhile, after remaining suspended for two days a batch of 2,203 pilgrims left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas early this morning in a cavalcade of 50 vehicles to Pahalgam under tight security measures.
According to Yatra Nodal officer Jammu, Arun Manhas about 12,000 pilgrims from different parts of country are stranded at Jammu for three days. He said 2200 pilgrims are camping at Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas while 800 are in nearby Aasa Ram Bapu Ashram. The rest pilgrims are camping in hotels, lodges and community centers in the city.
Manhas said that all yatris who left early this morning for Pahalgam have reached their destination.
A group of over 200 pilgrims who came in buses and tried to leave for Kashmir protested at Jhajjar Kotli today after police did not allow them to proceed further. According to reports, the Amarnath bound yatris crossing Lakhanpur are not allowed to come Jammu for last two days and are taken to different community centres in Samba and Kathua districts. They were also asked to leave for darshan of local shrines in the twin districts in view of heavy rush of pilgrims at Nunwan and Baltal base camps due to suspension of yatra for some days.
Reports said that hundreds of yatris are also stranded on Jammu -Srinagar NH at Udhampur, Ramban and Banihal.