SASB fully geared for Amarnath yatra: CEO

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Srinagar, Jun 17 (UNI) Regretting controversies over Shri Amarnath pilgrimage, Chief Executive Officer of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, Dr Arun Kumar today described them as unwarranted.

Talking to reporters here this afternoon on the eve of the commencement of this year's Yatra, Dr Kumar elaborately dwelt on the diversion of forest land to the Board at Baltal and said no permanent structure is being raised anywhere in the base camps or en route the cave shrine.

The CEO said there was not a single tree at Baltal, the area being avalanche prone, which has been even substantiated by the Forest Department in the recently Help Meeting of Environment Committee of the State Assembly.

He further said the Board has requested the Committee to plant trees in the area, if feasible, as they are paying about Rs 2.50 crores for the diversion of the said land.

The Board has never approached the State Government for a road up to the cave shrine. However, a rope way on the pattern of Gondolar Cable Car Project in Gulmarg can be a long-term measure, he said and described it as economical for pilgrims and environmental friendly.

Dr Kumar gave a detailed account of facilities created for smooth pilgrimage, which include over 2000 environmental friendly toilets and several shelter huts at Nunwan, Baltal and other camping sites.

These are temporary structures, raised in three days and dismantable in just one day. He said the toilets introduced by the Shrine Board could be a model for any tourist destination or civic bodies in rural and suburban areas, which lack such facilities. MORE UNI BAS PY BST2102

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