‘Yatris may have to walk on snow track’

SRINAGAR: J&K Governor N.N. Vohra, who is also the Chairman of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, held a meeting at Raj Bhavan Monday to review the arrangements for the Amarnath Yatra which is scheduled to commence on June 28.
R.K. Gupta, Chief Executive Officer of the Shrine Board, who had returned to Srinagar late Sunday night after undertaking an on-ground assessment tour of the entire Yatra route, covering Baltal Cave-Panjtarni-Sheshnag-Chandanwari, on June 21 and 22, briefed the Governor about the to-date position regarding snow-melt on the tracks enroute Cave, at the sites of the Yatra Camps, status of restoration of the Yatra tracks along both the routes and about the other logistical arrangements which are being made by the various concerned state government departments, according to an official handout.
The Governor was informed that while the Baltal Cave track is largely clear, the final stretch of about a kilometer up to the shrine is still fully covered with snow and, as in the past years, on this stretch the pilgrims would have to walk on the frozen snow path. The CEO informed that it would be possible to commence the Yatra along the Baltal Cave route from June 28.
As regards the Chandanwari route, the Governor was informed that the track between Sheshnag-Wavbal-Mahagunus Top-Poshpatri -Panjtarni is still heavily covered with snow. The snow level, particularly at Poshpatri-Mahagunus Top and Wavbal, is between 6 to 8 feet. The staff of the Pahalgam Development Authority is working on this stretch on double shift basis to clear the snow and restore the track for the Yatra. In this stretch the Yatris would have to walk on a snow track. It is not expected that the track would be free of snow before June 28.
Gupta informed that the CEO of the PDA, along with several officials of Anantnag district, is scheduled to visit the Yatra area to see that all the Yatra related arrangements, including track restoration works, are fully completed in the next five days.
In view of the detailed reports on various aspects provided by the CEO, Vohra decided that he shall, alongwith the CEO, visit the Cave, Panjtarni and Sheshnag Camps on June 25 to take a call whether the Yatra could, without any risk, commence on June 28 from the Chandanwari-Sheshnag route. The Governor shall also visit the Base Camps at Baltal and Nunwan to review all preparatory arrangements during his day long tour to the Yatra area on June 25.