Amarnath yatra: Govt to provide oxygen cylinders



Srinagar: With deaths of many Amarnath pilgrims reported on way to the cave shrine due to lack of oxygen in 2011, Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to provide 1000 portable oxygen cylinders during the forthcoming annual yatra.

"This year 900 portable oxygen cylinders would be provided instead of 300 last year and 100 cylinders would be kept as reserve, to meet any contingency," an official spokesman said after a high level meeting chaired by Divisional Commisioner Kashmir Asgar Samoon to review the arrangements for this year's pilgrimage.

Last year dozens of pilgrims died due to heart attacks triggered by lack of oxygen. Samoon also directed the officials not to allow any lavatory to be set up near a water body along the twin routes of Pahalgam and Baltal this year.

He stressed on ensuring proper management of liquid and solid waste during the yatra to conserve the fragile ecology of the area, the spokesman said.

Deputy Commissioner Anantnag Kifayat Rizvi and Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal Shoukat Ahmad Mir apprised the meeting about the action initiated with regard to arrangements on respective routes passing through their jurisdictions -- Pahalgam and Baltal, he said.

Samoon directed that all arrangements should be put in place by first week of June. He directed Chief Engineer PMGSY to ensure that the road from Pahalgam to Chandanwari is re-opened by April 23. Superintending Engineer Mechanical Engineering Department was directed to ensure that snow clearance on the 3.5- kilometre road upto Baltal within one week.

"Instructions were given to SE Electric to ensure that electric supply for Sonamarg is restored on an urgent basis. CAPD was asked to ensure adequate supply of essential commodities during Yatra and especially availability of LPG," the spokesman added.

PTI