War footing arrangements going on for annual Amarnath pilgrimage beginning June 29

As the annual Amarnath yatra approaches, the langars are being set up at Baltal. -Excelsior/Firdous
As the annual Amarnath yatra approaches, the langars are being set up at Baltal. -Excelsior/Firdous

Baltal through, Nunwan track to be cleared within days

Avtar Bhat

JAMMU, June 19: With 52- day long annual Amarnath Ji Yatra all set to begin from June 29 this year, the arrangements are going on war footing basis along both Pahalgam -Chandanwari and Baltal tracks to holy cave to facilitate hassle free pilgrimage.

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According to official sources, the snow clearance on the Baltal track to holy cave is almost complete while two patches Mahagunas top and Poshpathri on Nunwan -Chandanwari track are yet to be cleared of snow on which work is in progress. The snow from these two patches will also be cleared within days, sources added.
They said the camps have been established at base camps of Baltal and Nunwan. Two 100 bedded hospitals — one each at Baltal and Chandanwari have also been set up and will start functioning within three to four days. These hospitals will be managed by Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) and will be operated through J&K Health Services Department, sources added.
They said the track has been improved from both the axis and widened up to 12 feet for the convenience of the pilgrims in compliance with Supreme Court directives of 2012. Besides, the sanitation arrangements are being made in entire yatra area and the task has been assigned to Directorate of Rural Sanitation J&K Government.
In addition to it, water power supply arrangements have been made at both the base camps while in upper areas these arrangements are in advance stage and will be completed within days, sources said, adding the arrangements for chopper services are in place and direct services of chopper will also be available from Srinagar to Pahalgam and Srinagar to Neelgrath on Baltal track.
In view of disaster of 2022 near holy cave, the SASB has decided not to establish any camps near the disaster prone areas adjacent to holy cave for the overall safety of pilgrims and service providers, sources said, adding the nallah which caused disaster in 2022 near holy cave has also been tamed with construction of protection walling on both sides and deepening the bed so that when in spate the water will flow in Umravati stream flowing beneath the holy cave.
In addition to this, about 10 Ghats have been constructed in holy cave and lower holy cave area where sufficient number of pilgrims can take a ritual bath which is mandatory before darshan at cave shrine, sources said, adding at vulnerable places on both the tracks near about 14 kilometre area has been covered by railing from both sides for safety and security of pilgrims and service providers as a precautionary measure.
Moreover two dozen bridges have also been established on both the tracks, sources said, adding for the convenience of pilgrims visiting holy cave from different parts of country via Baltal track the three storyed building of newly constructed Yatri Niwas at Pantha Chowk in Srinagar will be utilised for comfortable accommodation of pilgrims this year. Though the six storeyed Yatri Niwas at Pantha Chowk is yet under construction but the three storey on which work has been completed will be utilized for pilgrims’ accommodation. Besides two Langars will be also established at the Yatri Niwas, sources added.
They said at holy cave the medical facilities, security, water and power supply will be completed in a couple of days while the Langars are in process of establishment on both the tracks right from Baltal track and Nunwan -Chandanwari route to holy cave.
Like past, the authorities have made Radio Frequency Identity chip mandatory for pilgrims and no yatri without it will be allowed to embark on pilgrimage, sources said.
Meanwhile, the Sadhus embarking on annual pilgrimage this year have started reaching here from different parts of the country. The Sadhus have reached Purani Mandi Temple here where the temple management makes arrangements for their free boarding and lodging besides running a free langar for them every year.
The 52 -day annual Amarnath yatra to holy cave situated at 3880 meters in deep Himalayas in Anantnag district of South Kashmir will culminate on August 19 i.e on Shravan Purnima coinciding with Rakshabandhan festival. The online registration of pilgrims started from April 15 this year all over the country.