Yatra crosses 2 lakh

Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, July 17:  Though yatra to holy cave remained suspended from both Baltal and Nunwan-Pahalgam base camps due to inclement weather and heavy rainfall in the morning, 4140 pilgrims still paid obeisance at holy cave on the 20th day of darshan today.
Till date 2,01, 528 pilgrims have performed darshan in the holy cave situated at an altitude of 3880 meters in deep Himalayas in South Kashmir district of Anantnag, an officer on yatra duty said.
He said the yatra remained suspended on both the tracks due to inclement weather and heavy rainfall in the morning in the yatra area. However, 1006 pilgrims left for holy cave via chopper. Besides, the pilgrims having night halt at Panjtarni and Sheshnag also left for darshan and 4140 yatris paid obeisance in the holy cave by this evening.
He said with the performance of darhsan by over 4000 pilgrims in cave shrine today, the yatra crossed 2 lakh in first 20 days.

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The spokesman said about 11,000 pilgrims are staying for the night halt at base camp of Baltal, while 5335 pilgrims left Baltal for Srinagar early this morning on way to their home States. He said all the yatris are safe and sound.
The officer said over 3000 pilgrims are putting up at Nunwan Pahalgam also. A fresh batch of 2201 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas here under tight security measures early this morning for Baltal and Nunwan -Pahalgam base camps.
According to Arun Manhas, Yatra Nodal Officer, Jammu, 1578 fresh registration has been made in three registration counters at Jammu today. He said the yatra is running smoothly and over 2000 pilgrims are staying for night at Jammu in different lodges and Yatri Niwas Bhagwati Nagar. They will leave for their respective base camps in Kashmir valley early  tomorrow morning.
One yatri died today at GMC Jammu who was injured in a road accident at Saraswati Dham near Rail Head on July 15 taking the death toll to 27 during ongoing yatra.
She has been identified as Gaya Bhai Kaila,61, W/o Ram Prasad of Maharashtra. The dead body was later handed over to family after post-mortem by police.
One pilgrim had died under mysterious circumstances on Srinagar -Jammu NH yesterday and his body was seized by Chanderkot Police yesterday when his two colleagues were taking him from Anantnag to Jammu on motorcycle.
Meanwhile, on the news report published in today’s edition of Excelsior under the caption yatris decry arrangements, unhygienic conditions in Sheshnag, the Pahalgam Municipal Committee (PMC) swung into action and launched a cleanliness drive at the Nunwan base camp and surrounding areas.
Scores of Safai Karamcharis were pressed into service by the PMC along with mobile vans and other equipments to clean the area of all polythene bags, filth and garbage from footpaths, roads and river Liddder flowing through the area.
The Safai Karamcharis, besides sprinkling medicines were also making announcements on public address system at Nunwan asking shopkeepers and yatris that instead of throwing polythene and plastic bottles on the footpaths and road side, they should use dustbins and mobile pick up vans.
The yatris were also asked to use mobile toilets installed by PMC at different places for convenience of yatris.
Meanwhile, Governor, N N Vohra, who is also Chairman of the Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), today held a meeting at Raj Bhavan to review the status of the ongoing Yatra, which commenced on June 28.
Umang Narula, CEO, and Bhupinder Kumar, Additional. CEO of the Shrine Board, informed the Governor that due to the continuous rainfall overnight, the Yatra was suspended today, from both the Pahalgam and Baltal routes. However, limited helicopter services operated from both Neelgrath and Pahalgam helipads.
The CEO further informed that on the 20th day of the ongoing Yatra,4140 Yatris paid obeisance at the holy cave and, till date, 2,01,582 yatris had performed darshan of the Shivling at the holy cave.
The Governor reiterated his earlier directions to officers to closely monitor the Yatra, ensure effective coordination with all agencies involved in the conduct of pilgrimage and ensure the safety and security of the Yatris.