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No reduction in Amarnath Yatra
duration: J&K govt
Onkar Singh in Srinagar | June 22, 2003 01:33 IST
The Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday clearly stated that there is no plan to cut down the Amarnath yatra duration as is being demanded by certain sections of the employees of the tourism department.
Speaking to rediff.com in Srinagar, Najamus Saqib, tourism secretary said, "Let me make it clear that the yatra would go on as schedule for a period of one month beginning on July 12 and ending on August 12-the Raksha Bandhan day. This is the decision of the government of Jammu and Kashmir and it would be implemented."
Earlier, some employees of the Jammu and Kashmir tourism department had said that the period of the yatra should be cut down by a week because the employees who stay in upper reaches for long periods have been experiencing health problems and their vigilance level comes down towards the end of the yatra.
"The governor took stock of the security arrangements at a meeting held in Pahalgam earlier this week. As governor of the state he is the presiding authority of the yatra arrangements. We have completed all the formalities of deploying the employees of the state government for the yatra. This of course is besides the deployment of the security forces on 46kms route which has to be secured," Saqid said.
He said that he expected over 125,000 pilgrims to visit the Amarnath Shrine during one month period of the Yatra.
"We have set aside one week of special Darshan for the security forces who would be deployed during the yatra time. They would be able to visit the shrine from July 5 to July 11. Thereafter they would be treated as normal pilgrims. We allow 2,700 pilgrims from Pahalgam route and another 800 yatris from Phaltal from Sonamarg side everyday. Sometime the rush becomes unprecedented and more yatris pour in then we can handle," he admitted.
Over 5,000 officers have been deployed for the one month period of the Yatra.
The yatra would begin with the Charimubarak being brought by the Mahant of the Digambar Akhara from Jammu. The Chari would be installed at the Shiv Mandir in Pahalgam for the duration of the Yatra and would be taken to holy cave in procession on the last day of the yatra to mark the end of the yatra.
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