Amarnathji Yatra likely to face hiccups this year


Jammu: Poor Planning, Frequent landslides due to monsoon may double the trouble

Starting from July 1st, Annual Shri Amarnathji Yatra likely to face hiccups in 2019 due to frequent blockages at 270-km long National Highway, only all-weather road linking Kashmir with Jammu and rest of the country, due to landslides. Recently, passengers faced acute hardship, when around 4000 vehicles stranded during closure of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway due to landslides at Ramban.

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Although, authorities and Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) are busy in finalizing the final arrangements for the smooth conduct of Pilgrimage but the current situation and upcoming rainy season (Monsoon) that is all set to start in the month of June may put more hardship before administration and pilgrims in particular.

Approximately, 90, 000 pilgrims have registered themselves for annual pilgrimage through 440 branches of J&K Bank across the country, and enthusiasm of pilgrims galore across social media platforms to visit the holy cave situated in a narrow canyon at farther end of Lidder valley, Shri Amarnathji Cave Shrine stands at 3,888 m, 45 km from Pahalgam and 141 km from Srinagar.

Many factors are seen behind the continuous landslides and shooting stones on National Highway. According to local inhabitants of the territory, construction companies that have been awarded work for expediting the tasks related to maintenance and repair of National Highway, especially covering of slopes at identified places, so as to minimize the chances of landslides causing road blockage, are the main reasons behind frequent closure of the road, they further alleged that poor planning and slow pace of various works add more woes to aggrieved passengers struck during closed highway.

While, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) representatives had announced that an expert team from capital will visit to learn the discrepancies and find ways to curtail landslides on NH 44. As per reports, experts from New Delhi will arrive in the month of June to assess the causes, both natural or man-made, and then, will submit its report to NHAI. Meanwhile, Authorities have directed Jammu & Kashmir Traffic Police to give preference to vehicles carrying consumable items, livestock, food-grains and petroleum products. Authorities are also considering to open Mughal Road for traffic movement, but it is hard to understand that what reasons are stopping Government to open so as to reduce the suffering of common man who faces during landslides at NH 44.