Shri Amarnath Yatra 2011 Special pickets at base camps

Tracks to be widened at some places Special pickets at base camps to restrict unregistered yatris
By: jamanand
May 23, 2011 - PRLog -- As holy Shiva Lingam inside the cave shrine of Shri Amarnath Ji is in full bloom and snow clearance operations along twin tracks of Pahalgam and Baltal have started, authorities today issued directions to para-military and police personnel to ensure that no yatri could venture out for the pilgrimage till official start of the yatra on June 29.

Official sources told the Excelsior that special security pickets are being established well in advance at forward base camps of Nunwan, Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district in the next few days to keep a strict vigil on any pilgrim or group of pilgrims trying to venture out towards holy Amarnath cave shrine before commencement of the yatra on June 29.

A special advisory will be issued to all security personnel including the jawans of Army, para-military and police before deployment to the cave shrine and enroute the two tracks not to move inside the shrine till beginning of the pilgrimage. Only those security personnel, who would be assigned the task of sanitizing the cave shrine and its surrounding, can go inside.

A couple of years back, some security personnel had posed with holy Ice Lingam and this had been described as one of the reasons for its early melting.

Sources said the holy cave shrine was fully barricaded when the pilgrimage culminated last year. A police team, which had gone to the cave shrine from Baltal track, has brought photographs of holy Ice Lingam of Lord Shiva. The photographs were taken from a distance. According to a report submitted by the police personnel, the Shiva Lingam is in full bloom.

"The Shiva Lingam was full in size and was expected to last quite a long time’’, they said. It may be mentioned that the pilgrimage would conclude on August 13 coinciding with Shrawan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan.

Sources said the snow clearance operations were apace in the areas, which had received less snowfall and would gradually progress if the weather behaved. At some places, the tracks would be widened with the clearance of snow.

According to sources, Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) has decided to allow a maximum of 5,000 registered pilgrims from each track (Pahalgam and Baltal) every day for 45 days long annual pilgrimage. Registration of yatra today crossed 1.60 lakh. Almost an equal number of yatris have been registered for Pahalgam and Baltal tracks.

Sources said majority of pilgrims preferred registration of early dates. However, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Yes Bank and some Co-operative Banks, which have been authorized for registration, have been directed by the Shrine Board to register a maximum of 10,000 pilgrims only on a single day—5,000 from each track.

The Shrine Board this year would set up additional 200 toilets at forward base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal for convenience of the pilgrims.

Sources said even though there had been a heavy snowfall on both the tracks, the authorities were confident that they would be able to make the tracks fit for pilgrimage well before start of the yatra on June 29.

"Hopefully, the tracks would be fit and ready for the yatris ahead of the yatra and deployment of security personnel’’, they added.

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