Governor NN Vohra, Chairman of Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), had asked PK Tripathi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and Jitendra Kumar Singh, Additional CEO, Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), to undertake a complete review of all Yatra arrangements by travelling along both the Baltal and Pahalgam routes.

On their return, after  a 3 day tour, Governor held a review meeting today and was provided a detailed briefing by CEO regarding status of the Domel-Holy Cave- Sangam-Panjtarni-Sheshnag-Chandanwari track and the actual on-ground position regarding the arrangements made by the various concerned State Government Departments and other agencies. CEO’s team included the General Manager (Works) and General Manager (Sanitation), SASB; DGMs (Works), SASB, posted at Baltal and Pahalgam; Assistant Commissioner (Revenue), Ganderbal; Executive Engineer, R&B, Ganderbal; Executive Engineer, Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA);  other officers of Ganderbal and Islamabad districts and officials of SASB and PDA, an official statement said Thursday evening.

Governor was informed by CEO that he, along with the other officers, had visited Neelgrath and Baltal on 16.08.2015 and inspected the arrangements for (i) heli operations and the facilities being provided to the Yatris at the Neelgrath Helipad; (ii) facilities for Yatris made at Baltal by SASB and various departments of the State Government; (iii) the functioning of Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) and sanitation facilities at Baltal Camp; (iv) interacted with the Langarwallas, service providers  and other stakeholders; (v) at Domel inspected the Access Control Gate, the shelter shed for Yatris and the sanitation facilities made available by the SASB and Sonamarg Development Authority in the working area. CEO SASB directed CEO, SDA and GM (Sanitation), SASB to undertake an intensive drive to clear all waste materials at Baltal Base Camp and on the entire Baltal – Domel track.

CEO informed that he and members of his team had inspected the entire track from Baltal to Holy Cave and observed that it needs to be restored and upgraded at various stretches, particularly along the steep and landslide prone areas in the Rail Pathri –Brarimarg stretch.  Executive Engineer, R&B, Ganderbal was directed to ensure that the narrow and risky stretches are provided railings to prevent any accident. GM (Sanitation) was directed to ensure clearance of all garbage enroute, particularly, at the locations where shops were allowed to be set up by the District Administration.

At the Holy Cave, CEO reviewed the facilities being provided to the Yatris and reviewed the regulation and management of the darshans at the Holy Cave. Thereafter, the track from Holy Cave to Panjtarni via Sangam top was inspected; the PDA has since commenced track restoration works at vulnerable stretches in the S.S. Padi area. At Panjtarni Camp, after detailed inspection, CEO noted that the existing water supply arrangement requires to be augmented. PDA has been directed to improve the track along the Camp area which becomes marshy after the rains.

CEO and his team also (i) inspected the entire Panjtarni-Sheshnag-Chandanwari track; (ii) reviewed the arrangements at Kelnar, Poshpathri, Mahagunus Top, Wavbal, Gratbal and Sheshnag; (iii) identified the areas which require installation of additional toilets and improvement of tracks. Based on interactions with the Camp Director Sheshnag, Police and Security Forces, PDA has been directed to strengthen the fenced Camp area for ensuring proper security and also improve the tracks and drainage within the Camp. In the backdrop of the cloudburst in July, PDA has been directed to establish a catch water drain on the hill side. It was also decided that during Yatra 2016 the Sheshnag Base Hospital will be housed in PDA’s pucca structure and the track stretches between Sheshnag and Zojibal and between Pissu Top and Chandanwari should be improved at the identified areas. CEO also inspected the arrangements at Chandanwari and Nunwan Base Camp and held a meeting with the Camp Directors, Police and Security Forces personnel.

Vohra directed CEO to personally follow up and ensure timely further action in respect of the identified issues and areas so that the same is completed in the remainder working season. Governor further directed the CEO to ensure complete cleaning up of all Camp sites and prepare a Camp-wise and route-wise Action Plan for Yatra 2016, keeping in view the experiences gained during the 2015 pilgrimage.  Governor re-iterated that SASB, PDA and SDA must make timely route-wise arrangements for Yatra 2016 while effectively ensuring environmental protection.

Based on the inputs provided by CEO and the reports which will be furnished by all the Camp Directors and the two Deputy Commissioners, the Governor is chairing a Post Yatra Review Meeting on 31st August in which over a hundred officers concerned with the management of Yatra 2015 are scheduled to participate.


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