Amarnath yatra from June 11
Jammu, Apr 8 (UNI) The annual Shri Amarnath Yatra, which attracts devotees from around the globe, will commence on June 11 and last for two months.
This decision was taken by Jammu and Kashmir Governor Lt Gen (Retd) S K Sinha, Chairman of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), in consultation with Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
The yatra will be for two months from June 11 to August 9.
Giving details of the arrangements, Dr Arun Kumar, Chief Executive Officer of SASB yesterday said detailed and ambitious programme have been made to raise temporary environmental friendly infrastructure for lodging pilgrims, whose number is expected to touch around five lakhs this year.
The Border Roads Organisation personnel will undertake steps to widen the road from Baltal to Sangram by six feet and from Sangram to holy cave by four feet, Dr Kumar said.
Jammu will be the base camp for the yatra, Baltal and Pahalgam the two forward bases, he added.
''We are also working out modalities with various airlines for running economically viable helicopter services during the yatra as last year around 10,000 pilgrims used the chopper services,''he said.
A helipad with fencing and frisking point would be constructed near the cave at a cost of Rs nine lakhs, Dr Kumar said.
The board is in constant touch with environmentalists for preserving the ecology and environment at Baltal and Pahalgam besides the track leading to the shrine, he added.
''For lodging pilgrims, 90 single room cottages and 50 double room cottages besides dormitories would be constructed at a cost of Rs 3.58 crore. In all, 11,592 toilets and bathrooms will be at the base camps and enroute the shrine to cater to the needs of around 14,000 pilgrims daily,'' Dr Kumar said.
''For sanitation and administering microbe culture Rs 37.62 lakhs have been earmarked. In addition, 66 gas geysers will be installed at various points for providing hot water to devotees,'' he added.
The water supply at camps is expected to be arranged by public health engineering department while SASB would provide water to toilets and baths and all the related work are expected to be completed by June 10, Dr Kumar said.
For registration of the pilgrims, the services of the local travel agents will be sought besides spot registration at various locations in and outside the state, he added.
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