Srinagar: Ahead of the commencement of the annual Amarnath yatra later this month, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board today performed `pratham puja` at Chandwari along the traditional 45-km track to the 3,880-metre high holy cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas.
Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) Chief Executive Officer R K Gupta performed the puja on the auspicious occasion of `Jyesht Purnima` at Chandanwari, the first halting point enroute to the cave, a spokesman of the board said.
The spokesman said Gupta invoked special blessings for smooth conduct of the ensuing yatra, scheduled to start on June 28 from the twin tracks of Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district of central Kashmir.
"Since 2011, the shrine board has been conducting pratham puja every year to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva for the peaceful conduct of the yatra," the spokesman said.
He said Gupta was accompanied by Additional Chief Executive Officer of SASB Preet Pal Singh, General Manager (Works) R K Pandita, Yatra Camp Directors and members of Baba Amarnath and Budha Amarnath Yatri Niyas Karan Singh Charak, General Secretary Sudershan Khajuria, Joint General Secretary Shakti Dutt Sharma and Deepak Sharma.
The spokesman said Gupta also reviewed the status of the ongoing works at the Access Control Gate in Chandanwari, and directed concerned officials of the Roads and Buildings Department to expedite construction of shelter sheds and repair of other damaged infrastructure.
Taking into account the significant delay and disruption of work caused by unprecedented snowfall during the preceding winter, the spokesman said the CEO ordered deployment of additional manpower, on double shift basis, for clearance of snow on the tracks and putting in place other yatra-related arrangements at all camps on the route.
Heavy accumulation of snow on the tracks and at various camps and inclement weather up to mid-May has hampered the progress of restoration of tracks, without which it is not possible to make the required yatra-related arrangements at the farther camps like Panjtarni, Sheshnag and Holy Cave.
"With the deployment of additional manpower, it is hoped that the required arrangements will be timely in place, if the weather remains fair," the spokesman added.