Kashmir Portal

A digital Kashmir Info Network

Amarnath yatra suspended

Posted by Kashmir Portal on June 16, 2009

Baltal (Sonamarg), June 15: The 2-month Amarnath yatra set for a delayed start on Monday was suspended as bad weather prevented the first batch from proceeding ahead from here towards the cave shrine. No further batch would be allowed to leave the base camp in Jammu from tomorrow, official sources said this evening.
Over the past couple of days, hundreds of vehicles carrying the pilgrims had arrived here on way to the cave shrine situated about 3,880 meters above sea level in the south Kashmir district of Islamabad. However, they were not allowed to proceed after fresh snowfall and rains triggered heavy landslides along the Baltal-Amarnath route. While efforts are on to clear the track, the pilgrims stayed put here in anticipation of clearance to proceed.
On Sunday, the health minister, Sham Lal sharma, visited Baltal to review the arrangements, inspecting the medical camps and other facilities along Baltal route. He was told the number of pilgrims would be regulated at the Manigam Police Training School transit camp keeping in view the holding capacity at Baltal. Those arriving at the PTS in the afternoon are held for the night and allowed to proceed on the next morning.
The deputy commissioner, Ganderbal, Iftikhar Husain, who is also the yatra officer for the route, was among several officials present.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, the tehsildar, Kangan, Barkat Ali, said the pilgrimage would be allowed keeping in view the weather conditions. Sharma dedicated an ambulance to the primary health centre, Tulmula assuring the  upgradation of medicare at the facility. He also visited Kheer Bhawani shrine.
Agency reports add from Jammu: Earlier this morning, the first batch of 900 pilgrims comprising 607 men, 229 women and 64 children, was flagged off at the base camp at Bhagwari Nagar in Jammu under heavy security cover by the Tourism and Culture minister, Nawang Rigzin Jora.
However, the pilgrims were stopped for a short while at Batote to check their registration, police said, adding those registered for trek along Pahalgam route, would not be allowed to proceed. 
The director-general of police, Kuldeep Khoda, convened a meeting of senior officials at the Police Control Room to review the security arrangements for the annual pilgrimage. He stressed greater co-ordination among various agencies. 
The pilgrimage, delayed from June 7 due to heavy snowfall on the traditional Pahalgam route, had been allowed through the shorter Baltal route. The army has chipped in to clear the traditional route of snow.

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