LG visits Baltal base camp
*Volunteer dies in Ramban, toll 6
JAMMU/SRINAGAR, July 4: Nearly 19,000 pilgrims today performed darshan of holy Ice Lingam of Lord Shiva on sixth day of annual pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Ji cave shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas while a volunteer from Punjab died of cardiac arrest at Ramban taking death toll to six.
Officials told the Excelsior that nearly 19,000 pilgrims, the highest since the yatra began on June 30, performed darshan at the cave shrine today taking number of total pilgrims who paid obeisance to Lord Shiva during last six days to 70,000.
The yatra was progressing smoothly from both tracks of Pahalgam and Baltal, the officials said, adding the weather is fine and majority of pilgrims from Baltal, who left for the cave early today, have returned to base camp after darshan.
A volunteer Bhushan, 65, a resident of Heer Maidan in Ferozepur district of Punjab, who was delivering religious speech to pilgrims in a langar at Lambar in Banihal tehsil of Ramban district was found in an unconscious condition this morning.
He was rushed to the Sub District Hospital in Banihal where he was declared as dead because of cardiac arrest.
This has taken death toll during pilgrimage to six.
Meanwhile, amid tight security, the sixth batch of over 7,200 pilgrims left from Jammu this morning for the twin base camps of 3,880-metre-high Amarnath cave shrine in South Kashmir.
A total of 7,282 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas here in a convoy of 332 vehicles amid heavy security of CRPF, the officials said.
Of these, 5,866 are males, 1,206 females, 22 children, 179 Sadhus and nine Sadhvis, they said.
They said 2,901 pilgrims heading for Baltal were the first to leave in 150 vehicles around 3.40 am followed by the second convoy of 182 vehicles carrying 4,381 pilgrims for Pahalgam.
The annual 43-day pilgrimage commenced on June 30 from the twin base camps — Nunwan in Pahalgam of south Kashmir’s Anantnag and Baltal camp in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.
The Yatra is scheduled to end on August 11 on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today visited Shri Amarnathji Yatra base camp at Baltal and interacted with the Shri Amarnath Ji pilgrims, ponywalas, volunteers and officers deputed there.
At the camp, Sinha enquired about the facilities, quality of services, well-being of Yatris and volunteers.
He also carried out on-site inspection of Control Rooms established there and directed officials for regular inspection of lodging, food, health facilities, sanitation and taking care of cleanliness drives along the Yatra route and base camp.
The Lt Governor observed that UT administration has made adequate arrangements to ensure a safe and smooth Yatra.
He was briefed by the Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal on various arrangements including power and water supply, sanitation, toilet units, rural haat, street lighting, healthcare facilities, availability of ambulances, veterinary services, fire tenders, Traffic situation etc.
He informed that adequate mobile oxygen units have been placed on various locations, besides men and machinery are in place at vulnerable spots to tackle any exigency.
The Deputy Commissioner also briefed the Lt Governor about the day wise status of the Yatris arriving at the Baltal base camp and yatris who have returned from the holy cave after paying obeisance.
While interacting with the yatris, stakeholders, and members of Langar Management Committees, Sinha enquired about their experience of the ongoing pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Ji. He also extended his best wishes for their safe spiritual pilgrimage.
Later, the Lt Governor had food at the Langar established at the base camp.
Nitishwar Kumar, Principal Secretary to Lt Governor; Pandurang K Pole, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir; Vijay Kumar, IGP Kashmir; Vijay Kumar Bidhuri, Commissioner/ Secretary to Government Revenue Department; Shyambir, Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal and other senior officers of the district administration, SASB, Police and Army accompanied the Lt Governor.