Points discussed b/w Amarnath samithi-Govt

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Jammu, Sep 1: After 64 days, the violence, unrest and protest comes to an end in Jammu Kashmir. A state of celebration is apparent in Jammu after the talks between Govt Panel and Amarnath Samiti reached a successful conclusion. 39.88 hectares of land for exclusive use by the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) was conceded by the Govt to Shri Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti (SASS).

Following is the text read out by Governor's adviser SS Bloeria and Shri Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti convener Leela Karan Sharma during a joint press conference soon after the forth round of talks concluded during the wee hours here.

1. The Shri Amarnathji Yatra, which has been going on for many centuries, is a shining symbol of communal harmony and brotherhood in Jammu &Kashmir and reflective of the state's composite heritage. The yatris have been welcomed with open arms by the people of both Jammu and Kashmir divisions and all required facilities have been made available for them.

Sadly, certain decisions of the state government relating to the yatra created misunderstandings which led to controversy and agitation and loss of many precious lives. Apart from the damage to property, there has been a colossal loss to the state's economy in different sectors like transport, trade, industry, horticulture and tourism.

2. The yatra to Shri Amarnathji Shrine has traditionally benefited a large number of local residents, many of whom have crucial dependence on this annual pilgrimage for their livelihood.

3. There has been no occasion in the past on which the state government has failed to provide the required support for the conduct of the Amarnathji Yatra. On the contrary, the extent and nature of governmental support to the yatra has been progressively enhancing, from year to year.

4. In view of the need to seek a peaceful resolution of the fundamental issues, to settle all existing doubts and clarify the continuing responsibility of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir had constituted, on 6 August, 2008, a four-member Committee comprising: Dr. S. S. Bloeria, Advisor to Governor Justice (Retd) Shri G. D. Sharma Prof. Amitabh Mattoo, Vice Chancellor, University of Jammu Shri B. B. Vyas, Principal Secretary to Governor and Chief Executive Officer, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board.

5. The Committee held three rounds of discussions with the four-member Committee nominated by the Shri Amarnathji Yatra Sangharsh Samiti (SAYSS) which comprised:-

Shri Tilak Raj Sharma Brif (Retd) Suchet Singh Prof. Narinder Singh Shri Pawan Kohli

6. The Governor has also held discussions with the leaders of political, social, religious, academic and other organizations in the Kashmir Valley. The predominant view, emerging out of the consultations, is that the Amarnathji Yatra, which is a centuries old tradition of J&K's rich composite heritage, will continue to be welcomed and supported by the people of Kashmir, in every possible way.

It was also felt that while the Shrine Board could continue to use the land, as in the past, for yatra purposes, nothing should be done to alienate or transfer the land. While an assuring convergence of views has emerged, the Governor is committed to continuing the consultative process to ensure against any remaining misunderstanding whatsoever on an issue which has earlier led to serious misperceptions and human and economic loss.

Based on detailed discussions and deliberations held in the recent weeks, the following framework of action for resolving the issue relating to the use of land for the period of yatra by the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, at Baltal and Domail, has been agreed to:-

A. The State Government shall set aside for the use by Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, exclusively, the land in Baltal and Domail (Compartment No. 63/S, Sindh Forest Division) comprising an area of 800 kanals, traditionally under use for the annual yatra purposes.

B. The proprietary status/ownership/title of the land shall not undergo any change.

C. The Board shall use the aforesaid land for the duration of the yatra (including the period of making the required arrangements and winding up of the same) for the purpose of user by various service providers according to its needs and priorities.

The aforesaid land shall be used according to the Board's requirements, from time to time, including for the following:-

i) Raising of temporary pre-fabricated accommodation and toilet facilities by the Board;

ii) Establishment of tented accommodation by private camping agencies (locals, permanent residents of the state);

iii) Setting up of the shops by shopkeepers (locals, permanent residents of the state);

iv) Facilities for Pony Wallas and Pithu Wallas;

v) Provision of healthcare and medical facilities;

vi) Setting up of free Langars by private persons and groups which are licensed by the Board;

vii) Facilities for helicopter operations/ parking of vehicles;

viii) Arrangements of security by local police/para-military forces and other security agencies as per the arrangements in place here-to-fore; and

ix) Undertaking measures relating to soil conservation, land protection and preservation of ecology.

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