Decision on Amarnath yatra after periodic review of COVID-19 situation
Jammu, Apr 25: Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor G C Murmu on Saturday said the upcoming Amarnath yatra was subject to a periodic review of the COVID-19 situation as comprehensive planning and execution are involved in the conduct of the annual pilgrimage.
The 42-day-long yatra to the 3,880-metre high cave shrine of Amarnath in the south Kashmir Himalayas is scheduled to commence on June 23.
The 10-day-long Buda Amarnath yatra in Poonch district of Jammu commences in August.
"The government will explore all possible means required for the conduct of the yatras. However, all these developments are subject to review, in view of the COVID-19 crisis," Murmu said at a meeting with a nine-member delegation of Baba Amarnath and Buda Amarnath Yatri Niyas at the Raj Bhavan here.
The delegation led by Pawan Kumar Kohli discussed various issues concerning the conduct of the yatras with the LG and also put forth several suggestions like curtailment of yatra duration, allowing devotees of specific age groups, preference for online yatra registration, commencement of heli-yatra earlier and delay in on-foot yatra as per the prevailing situation.
"Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, an appropriate decision on organising the yatras can only be taken after periodic reviews of the situation, as a comprehensive planning and execution is involved in the conduct of the yatras," the LG observed.
He said around 20,000 healthcare professionals and 30,000 police and paramilitary personnel were working to contain the spread of coronavirus, and their availability is also to be ascertained for the conduct of the yatras. The delegation also suggested a live telecast of the puja, upon which the LG observed that a discussion had already been held on exploring such possibilities, an official spokesman said.
Murmu urged the delegation to stay in touch with the langar (community kitchen) organisations as well, and assured the best possible support in facilitating the necessary arrangements, wherever required.