Limiting pilgrimage period to 30 days: SABLO

SRINAGAR: A federation of various service providers to the Amarnath pilgrims has suggested limiting the two-month-long pilgrimage period to the holy cave shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas to 30 days. Shri Amarnathji Barfani Langer Organisation (SABLO), an association of various organisations serving Amarnath yatris free en route and providing them with food, blanket, night shelter etc, proposed cutting down the pilgrimage duration to 30 days saying 90 per cent of the pilgrims have darshan of the holy ‘shivlingam’ at the cave within a month after the start of the yatra. The SABLO made the suggestion during a meeting of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), which manages the annual pilgrimage to the shrine located at an altitude of 3880 metre in Kashmir, an official spokesman said. The meeting was chaired by Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra, who is also the SASB chairman. “In a presentation made before the Board, SABLO stressed that the pilgrimage data for the past five years shows that more than 90 per cent of the yatris perform ‘darshan’ in the first 30 days. On this basis, SABLO argued that the period of yatra should be limited to 30 days, citing various reasons,” the spokesman said. Taking note of SABLO’s suggestion, the Board observed that this important issue needs to be placed in the public domain and discussed further, he said. The SASB meeting also reviewed the ongoing yatra and works undertaken for the convenience of the pilgrims. The Board was apprised of the various steps taken for improving and enhancing the facilities to the pilgrims. The steps included improving the tracks from Baltal to Domel, upgrading of Neelgrath-Baltal Road, erecting railings on the Baltal route and on the Chandanwari route and establishing resting places along the tracks. SASB CEO Umang Narula said the public works department and Pahalgam Development Authority have been maintaining the Baltal and Pahalgam tracks, respectively, and taking care of the widening of the tracks and erecting railings at all vulnerable places. The governor directed the CEO to ensure that the remaining work is taken up immediately after conclusion of the yatra on 26 August. The board noted that this year the state governments of Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have deputed good number of doctors from prestigious institutions to assist the medical arrangements for the Yatra, at various camps.