Amarnath Yatra: First batch of pilgrims halted at Baltal due to heavy rainfall

From the twin base camps of Baltal and Pahalgam, the pilgrims will start their journey to the 3,880-metre high cave shrine by foot.

Amarnath Yatra: First batch of pilgrims halted at Baltal due to heavy rainfall

JAMMU: The first batch of pilgrims going to Amarnath Yatra has been halted in Baltal and Pahalgam in Jammu and Kashmir due to heavy downpour since Wednesday evening.

''Amarnath Yatra has been stalled due to heavy rainfall. We are in constant touch with IMD and closely monitoring the weather situation,'' Dr Piyush Singla, Ganderbal Deputy Commissioner said.

According to ANI, the pilgrims have been halted at the Nun Wan camp base camp made in Baltal and will be allowed to proceed further only after rain stops and the weather gets clear.

The MeT department has predicted a heavy rainfall in the next 48 hours. 

Here are some visuals of the base camps after the 'Amarnath Yatra' was stalled due to heavy rainfall.

From the twin base camps of Baltal and Pahalgam, the pilgrims will start their journey to the 3,880-metre high cave shrine by foot.

The first batch of pilgrims was flagged off from Jammu's base camp in Bhagwant Nagar on Wednesday amid unprecedented security.

It was flagged off by BVR Subramanyam, Chief secretary J&K, BB Vyas Advisor to J&K Governor and Vijay Kumar, Advisor to J&K Governor.

''Amarnath Yatra is a very significant annual event. With the cooperation of public, all security agencies and development agencies, we have put a scheme in place and are trying our best to address concerns of the pilgrims and ensure smooth flow of traffic,''Vijay Kumar, Advisor to J&K Governor, said.

The pilgrims from different parts of the country left for the twin base camps of Baltal and Pahalgam in Kashmir, guarded by the security forces in a fleet of vehicles on Wednesday morning.

Largest ever security cover has been provided for the Amarnath Yatra this year with electromagnetic Radio Frequency chips being used and drones installed for surveillance and a Special Motor Cycle Squad formed by the CRPF for the pilgrimage.  

Inspector General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Jammu Sector Abhay Vir Chauhan had earlier chaired a meeting of senior officials deployed in the region to review the efficacy of security arrangement for the Amarnath Yatra.

During the meeting, various aspects of the security were discussed upon among which security of Base Camp Bhagwati Nagar and security of Yatra route were emphasised.

The Amarnath pilgrims also appeared satisfied with the security and other arrangements made by the Centre and state government. ''We are very happy that we are going for Amarnath Yatra. We don't fear anything here. All security arrangements are up to the mark. Every year there are improvements in the security,'''one of the pilgrims said.

Pilgrims in the first batch of Amarnath Yatra were welcomed by locals and officers of the district administration, including Deputy Commissioner Udhampur Ravinder Kumar and SP Udhampur Faisal Qureshi, upon their arrival in Tikri.  

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat also visited Baltal Base Camp to review security arrangements for the Yatra on Monday.

Till now nearly two lakh pilgrims from across the country have reportedly registered themselves for the Yatra.

(With ANI inputs)     

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