Srinagar: With the entire route to Amarnath shrine still buried under a thick blanket of snow, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) authorities today said they have "serious apprehensions" about the commencement of the annual pilgrimage which is scheduled to begin next week.
"In view of the very slow rate of snow melt at Chandanwari along Pahalgam-cave route, serious apprehension was expressed about the possibility of the Yatra commencing from the route on June 28, the date on which the 44-day yatra is scheduled to commence," an official spokesman said after a meeting of the SASB chaired by Governor N N Vohra here.
Vohra, who is also chairman of the SASB, held the meeting to review the status of snow-melt and progress so far achieved in clearance of tracks and sites of the yatra camps enroute to the 3,880 metre-high holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas.
"As per the to-date reports, there is one feet of snow at Zojibal, four feet at Sheshnag, seven feet at Mahagunus Top and Poshpatri, one feet at Panjtarni, four feet at Sangam and six feet at the holy Cave," the spokesman said.
Besides the traditional Pahalgam route in Anantnag district of south Kashmir, the yatra is also scheduled to commence from a shorter 16-km Baltal route in Ganderbal district of central Kashmir on June 28.
The Board`s Chief Executive Officer R K Gupta, Additional Chief Executive Officer P P Singh and other senior officers who attended the meeting reported to the Chairman with the to-date status of the ongoing repair and renovation in the Yatra area.
Prior to the meeting, Gupta had spoken to Camp Directors in Baltal, Panjtarni, Sheshnag and Chandanwari and also to the headquarters of Army`s Victor Force in south Kashmir to obtain the latest position regarding the accumulation of snow on the tracks and at the sites of the various camps enroute the cave shrine, the spokesman said.
He said the Governor asked Gupta to prepare a daily report on the status of snow-melt in the entire area and about the various arrangements which are underway.
"The Governor also stressed on the SASB CEO to ensure against any slippage in the deadlines fixed for the concerned departments and agencies to complete the preparatory works assigned to them," the spokesman said.
Vohra also directed the SASB CEO to undertake an on-ground assessment of the entire yatra route and travel Baltal-Holy Cave-Panjtarni-Sheshnag-Chandanwari, commencing his tour on June 21, the spokesman said.
The spokesman said it was also decided that the next review meeting would be held on June 23, on Gupta`s return, to arrive at the required decisions about the schedule.