Amarnath Yatra progressing smoothly, helicopter service affected

Srinagar, July 23: Fresh batches of pilgrims, including women and sadhus, left Baltal and Pahalgam base camps for the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, where so far 2.37 lakh yatris had paid obeisance since the commencement of the 60-day-long pilgrimage from June 28.
However, the helicopter service from Baltal and Pahalgam to cave shrine has been suspended this morning due to poor visibility at the cave shrine, where it was raining.
Meanwhile, Governor N N Vohra, who is chairman of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) visited Baltal base camp, Domel Access Control Gate (ACG) and Heelgrath helipad on Sunday to gain first hand assessment of the pilgrimage and the difficulties, if any, being faced by the yatris.
Officials said that fresh batch of pilgrims, including women and sadhus, left Baltal base camp early this morning for the cave shrine. The pilgrims are scheduled to reach the cave shrine after covering the 14-km-long hilly track on foot. However, some yatris are covering the distance on horse or pony backs besides dandies.
Meanwhile, pilgrims who had night halt in the camps near cave shrine after darshan have also started their return journey early this morning.
They said fresh batch of yatris left Nunwan Pahalgam base camp for first halting station at Chandanwari on the traditional track. However, majority of the pilgrims will continue their journey towards the next halting station, they said adding the yatris who had night halt at Chandanwari also left for next station early this morning.
They said about 7000 yatris paid obeisance at the holy cave during the past 24 hours as pilgrims, who had night halt at different camps are reaching to have darshan since early this morning. On the 25th day of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra, 6,150 yatris paid obeisance at the Holy Cave on Sunday.
Meanwhile, on arrival at the Baltal Base Camp, the Governor went round the camp; visited the Base Hospital where he met doctors from Delhi and Rajasthan who are serving the 40 bed medical unit since June 28,” an official spokesman said.
He said Vohra also visited a few Langars and Shrine Board huts; reviewed the functioning of the STP at the Base Camp. “The Governor devoted considerable time to review the sanitation and cleanliness arrangements within and outside the Camp and gave directions to Additional CEO, General Manager (Works), General Manager (Sanitation) and Camp Director regarding the further actions to be taken by them to enhance cleanliness,” he said.
Later, Vohra took a meeting with Camp Directors and all the officers involved in the conduct of Yatra. He particularly reviewed the sanitation arrangements; functioning of Sewage Treatment Plant (STP); water and power supplies; functioning of Medical Units and Langars, availability of essential commodities etc.
The Governor reiterated his earlier directions to Camp Directors about the need to ensure effective maintenance of sanitation in all the Camps in the Yatra area and, besides, complete cleanliness along both the Yatra routes. He directed the Camp Directors and all concerned officers of the District Administration to ensure that there is no impediment in the pilgrimage till its conclusion on August 26.
The Governor also inspected the heli-operations at the Neelgrath Helipad and enquired about the services from the yatris.
Considering the progressive decline in the strength of the pilgrimage, the Governor shall be taking a meeting next week, also involving all Security Forces, regarding the management of the pilgrimage in the remainder period of the Yatra.