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SASB team visits Amarnath cave to give final touches to arrangements

Baltal (Jammu), Sun, 14 Jun 2009 ANI

Baltal (Jammu) June 14 (ANI):With just a day left for the commencement of this year's Shri Amarnathji Yatra from Jammu via the Baltal route, the Army stepped in to augment track clearance on a critical patch from Sangam to the holy cave.


The Chief Executive Officer of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), B.B. Vyas, visited the cave and Panjtarini areas this morning along with senior Army and board officers and took stock of the snow clearance work. He called for a doubling of the work-force to make the track fully functional by Monday.


Shrine board officers also discussed the relocation of helipads from the cave and inspected the proposed site at Panjtarini. The work on making the sites functional has already begun. At Panjtarini, Vyas and his officers went round the Panchtarni Camp also and flew over the thickly snow covered track from Sheshnag to Panchtarni, parts of which are yet to fully cleared due to hurdles caused by last week's fresh snowfall.


At the cave, most of the open kitchens have been set up while the tent-shop owners are putting up tentage for running their establishments of essential commodities and bhaint items.


The SASB has erected 15 huts and 85 toilets while the clearance on the entry and exit points near the cave is in the final stages. The various service providing departments like public health, power development, revenue and medical etc. have positioned their staff in the Cave, which will be receiving the first batch of pilgrims on June 16 from the Baltal side. Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra, who is the Chairman of the Board, is likely to lead devotees in the Pratham Puja at the sanctum sanctorum.


Vyas directed the Camp Director and the senior officers to ensure timely availability of all the facilities. He was given a detailed briefing on the establishment of open kitchens and supply of power and drinking water.


Vyas also visited the Baltal Base Camp and reviewed the arrangements with the senior officers. He gave instructions for setting up of a check post at Domel to record the details of the incoming pilgrims, which is imperative for regulating the pilgrimage smoothly.


The pilgrims would be permitted to proceed beyond this point only up to 9 a.m everyday. He emphasized the need for allowing only such of the pilgrims whose registration is complete in all respects like date and the route. A similar check post is being established ahead of Chandanwari on the traditional Pahalgam route, which will, however, become functional after the decision on throwing this route open for the pilgrims is taken around June 22.


Vyas was given the first hand information about the status of the track from Chandanwari to the Holy Cave which is being manned by the Pahalgam Development Authority.


The SASB is constantly monitoring the track and senior officers have been stationed at various locations to ensure smooth flow of pilgrims.


Along side the track from Baltal to the cave, various facilities like open kitchens, medicare, ponies and pithus etc are available in adequate numbers to cater to the requirements of the pilgrims.


An Information Centre will also start functioning in the Base Camp by 15th June afternoon for disseminating vital information about the Yatra and the weather conditions through Public Address System.


The metrological department is providing weather reports twice a day to the SASB, as also to other agencies including the official media. These measures have been taken to keep the pilgrims abreast with the weather conditions and the status of the track. By Tahir Nadeem Khan (ANI)


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