Jammu: Against the backdrop of the Supreme Court asking Jammu and Kashmir government to provide better roads for Amarnath Yatra, several political parties here today demanded that a safe passage be built to the cave shrine.
"We criticise the Omar government and the separatists for opposing the road construction to Amarnath shrine for providing better facilities to pilgrims to avoid deaths," chairman of Kranti Dal, Anan Sharma, said.
"We suggest that there is already a temporary road leading to the shrine and if the concrete road will be built, there is no harm to environment," Sharma said.
President of Shri Ram Sena (SRS) state unit, Rajiv Mahajan, said his party had "strongly criticised" the statement of NC leader and Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather in which he said that there is no proposal yet to construct the road to Amarnath cave.
Rather had earlier said the state government did not have any plans to make a road to the shrine and devotees would continue to use ponies and palanquins for the journey.
The government is coming under the pressure of separatists, who have opposed the construction of roads to the shrine, Mahajan also alleged.
On August 13, the Supreme Court had asked the government to finish construction of roads and widening of passage to the Amarnath shrine before snowfall.
The court also directed a high-powered committee appointed by it, headed by J&K Governor N N Vohra, to submit a report in 3 weeks on how to prevent growing number of casualties of Amarnath devotees and suggest measures for better arrangement of the pilgrimage.
Civil society organisations and separatists, among them Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, have asked to reconsider the construction of the road on the grounds that it would adversely affect the fragile ecology there.