Guv visits Amarnath Yatra camps; issues directions for relief to stranded pilgrims -
Guv visits Amarnath Yatra camps; issues directions for relief to stranded pilgrims
Posted 07 Jul 2018 04:04 PM

SRINAGAR: After taking stock of ground position at the Nunwan and Baltal Base Camps on Friday morning, Governor N.N Vohra chaired an emergency meeting to review the immediate action required to facilitate the conduct of the Shri Amarnathji Yatra.
The meeting was attended by Advisor B.B. Vyas, Umang Narula, CEO of the Shrine Board; Bhupinder Kumar, Additional CEO, Shrine Board; Parvez Ahmad, Chairman J&K Bank; Baseer Ahmad Khan, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir; Swayam Prakash Pani, IGP Kashmir; Chief Engineer BRO; Chief Signal Officer (Army), Srinagar; Director CAPD; Development Commisioner R&B Srinagar; General Manager BSNL; and representative of Hindustan Petroleum Aviation.
Governor directed GM, BSNL to restore and immediately improve the quality of telecommunications at various Yatra Camps and enhance the band width by tomorrow. Divisional Commissioner was directed to keep close liaison with BSNL to ensure early restoration; representative of Hindustan Petroleum Aviation was directed to provide refuelling facilities for IAF Choppers airlifting stranded passengers from Panjtarni; Chairman J&K Bank was directed to install micro ATMs at Panjtarni and make available cash to the stranded Yatris early tomorrow morning; Development Commissioner R& B, Srinagar and Chief Engineer BRO were directed to initiate immediate measures to provide safety from rolling stones at the affected track portions between Rail Pathri and Brarimarg by pooling resources; IGP Kashmir was directed to position adequate Police force at the designated locations for the safety of the pilgrims. Director CAPD assured Governor that ration stocks were adequately provisioned at all the Yatra Camps. IAF’s airlift from Panjtarni to Baltal enabled 326 pilgrims to be evacuated till today afternoon.
Meanwhile, on the directions of the Governor, an evacuation rescue operations were launched early this morning to evacuate stranded Yatris from Panjtarni to Baltal.
The virtually non-stop rainfall over the past several days has adversely affected the track conditions, particularly on the Baltal-Sangam-Holy Cave route. Besides landslides at several places the maximum disruption has been caused by shooting stones and the sinking of the track at certain locations. As directed by the Governor, sick pilgrims as well as the aged and women Yatris were amongst the first to be airlifted when three Indian Air Force MI-17 Helicopters started operating sorties from Panjtarni to Baltal.
An official spokesperson said that cancelling a pre-scheduled tour to Jammu, in connection with an important engagement, the Governor accompanied by his Advisor B.B. Vyas, and Umang Narula, Chief Executive Officer, visited Baltal, Panjtarni and Nunwan (Pahalgam) Yatra Camps for a first hand assessment of the ground situation.
Besides holding meetings with the Camp Directors and senior Civil officers of the various departments, Deputy Commissioners and SSPs Ganderbal and Anantnag districts, officers of Police, Army, BRO etc, Governor met the pilgrims to hear their problems.
After discussions with Deputy Commissioners, SSPs, Camp Directors and all other concerned officers, Governor gave directions regarding the cut-off timings for the upward and downward movements on the Baltal-Panjtarni-Baltal Track; urgent deployment of additional Police personnel, MRTP rescue teams and SDRF teams at all the critical locations on the tracks to regulate the movement of Yatris, particularly those who are unwell; urgent deployment of additional labour for the immediate restoration of the damaged portions of the track and, besides, to stand-by for repairing any arising problem; installation of lights along the damaged/vulnerable portions of the track; deployment of a Magistrate at Brarimarg; Camp Directors and Police to ensure strict enforcement of the rates charged for tents, ponies, porters, palkis etc and particularly ensure against any overcharging; as the Baltal route has become in-operative due to falling stones/landslides Camp Director Baltal was instructed to see that Yatris who possess Registration to travel on the Baltal route should be facilitated to undertake their pilgrimage via the Pahalgam route if they so wish; J&K Bank to be approached for urgently establishing facility for disbursal of cash at Panjtarni till an ATM is installed here.
With a view to regulate the movement of pilgrims from Jammu onwards, till the Baltal track becomes operational the Governor has convened an Emergency Meeting at the Raj Bhavan on Friday evening for taking appropriate decisions and making them known to pilgrims and all concerned authorities in the State.

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