Governor N. N. Vohra, Chairman of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), recorded high appreciation of the co-ordinated effort made by the various concerned State Government departments and agencies, Army, Central Armed Police Forces, J&K Police, Shrine Board and all local stakeholders for the smooth conduct of the Shri Amarnathji Yatra-2017. Governor was addressing the Post-Yatra Review Meeting – 2017 which was followed by a felicitation function at Raj Bhavan here today. He also thanked the people of the Valley, particularly of Anantnag and Ganderbal districts, for their strong support and wholehearted participation in this seasonal pilgrimage.
Before commencing discussion on the agenda items, Governor reviewed the outcome of the Sanitation cum Camp Cleaning Drive which was carried out during 2nd – 9th August 2017 as per his direction.
Jalid Riyaz Banday, General Manager (Sanitation) of the Shrine Board briefed the Meeting that the Sanitation Drive had commenced as per schedule, simultaneously at all the Yatra Camps and along both the Yatra tracks, and was effectively implemented with the active cooperation of the Anantnag and Ganderbal District Administrations, Chief Executive Officers of the Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA) and Sonamarg Development Authority (SDA); Sub Divisional Magistrate Pahalgam and Municipality Committee Pahalgam.
He reported that all plastic and other non-biodegradable wastes were collected from the tracks and along the hill slopes and brought down to Baltal and Nunwan where these materials were crushed in the shredding machines specially installed by the Shrine Board for this purpose.
He further informed that, as directed by the Governor, the cleanliness drive was also especially carried out along the banks of rivers Lidder and Sind. In this context, Governor urged Chief Secretary B B Vyas to initiate action for a large scale campaign being carried out to spread awareness regarding the non use of Plastic materials.
He also advised Chief Secretary to review the functioning of the existing regulatory mechanisms to effectively discourage the use of plastics in the entire State. Chief Secretary stated that he would early review this matter and stated that work would also commence shortly for commissioning plants for converting waste to energy at Pahalgam and Sonamarg.
Governor observed that improved arrangements had been made on ground this year and commended the efforts made by every stakeholder involved in organizing the Yatra 2017, particularly the State Health, Public Health, Power, Tourism and R&B departments
Governor observed that the Yatra had proceeded smoothly barring the unfortunate terrorist attack, on 10th July, on a bus carrying Shri Amarnathji pilgrims near Khanabal, in Anantnag District, and the tragic road accident which took place on 16th July in Nachilana area of Banihal in Ramban District. He said that lessons should be learnt from both these incidents, which resulted in large human loss, to avoid recurrence in future.
Governor observed that the Yatra Review Meeting which is convened every year, immediately after the culmination of the Yatra, provides feedback and suggestions for improving different elements of the Yatra and sets the agenda for better management of the ensuing year’s pilgrimage. On the basis of the decisions taken in the meeting, Governor directed Sh. Umang Narula, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Shrine Board, to initiate discussions with the Departments of Health and Medical Education, Public Health Engineering, Power, Public Works, Telecommunication etc. and prepare a detailed Action Plan, along with timelines, for Yatra of 2018.
After the conclusion of the Review Meeting, Governor presented certificates of appreciation and mementoes to the officers who attended the Meeting, as a token of the Board’s appreciation of their dedicated efforts for the smooth management of the just concluded Yatra.
The issues which were especially reviewed during the meeting included: need for making further improvements in the existing systems of (i) Registration of Yatris and (ii) Access Control measures; making optimum use of medical resources; up-gradation of the walking tracks; further improving the STPs at Nunwan and Baltal; improving the functioning of Langars; fine tuning the operation of helicopter services; improvement of telecommunication facilities rendered by BSNL; review of Disaster Management arrangements by Divisional Commissioners Jammu and Kashmir; weather forecasting; progressive improvement in the quality of tentage and beddings provided to Yatris etc.