Fresh batches of pilgrims left Baltal and Nunwan Pahalgam base camps for undertaking annual pilgrimage to holy Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas Sunday morning despite cloudy sky.
A yatra official told UNI on Sunday that 81,630 pilgrims, including women and sadhus, from different parts of the country paid obeisance at the holy cave since the commencement of the pilgrimage from July 1st till Saturday evening amidst chanting of “Har Har Mahadev” and “Bam Bam Bholay”.
Since early Sunday morning about 1,500 yatris, who had night halt at different halting stations had darshan of the self made Ice-Shivlingam and more yatris are on way to holy cave.
He said weather is cloudy but the yatra is progressing smoothly from both traditional Pahalgam and shortest Baltal tracks.
He said a fresh batch of pilgrims, including women, children and sadhus left Nunwan Pahalgam base camp for Chandanwari, the last motorable halting station on traditional track. Meanwhile, the pilgrims who had night halt at different stations, including Chandanwari, on traditional route left for next stations early Sunday morning.
He said fresh batch of pilgrims also left Baltal base camp for the holy cave early Sunday morning. The pilgrims, including women, children and sadhus will reach the holy cave after covering the distance on foot, he said. Helicopter service is also operating normally from both sides.
Meanwhile, majority of the pilgrims who had darshan at the cave shrine are returning via Baltal track. The pilgrims after darshan also left for their homes. However, some pilgrims are taking time to visit Dal Lake and other tourist places, including Gulmarg, Sonamarg and Pahalgam before leaving for home.
Meanwhile, chief executive officer (CEO) of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) Umang Narula reviewed the arrangements put in place at various yatra camps and enroute for carrying out sanitation and cleaning work. This entire campaign being implemented by the shrine board is in close collaboration with the Pahalgam Development Authority and the Sonamarg Development Authority in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
Narula expressed satisfaction at the massive sanitation drive conducted on Sunday in a well coordinated manner under the personnel supervision of the camp directors, additional camp directors and deputy camp directors of Baltal, Panjtarni, and Sheshnag camps in which officers and officials from all the shrine board, civil, police, BSF, CRPF, langar organisations, sanitation workers and local service providers participated.
During the drive, special focus was on cleaning of toilets/ baths, drains, lanes, nearby diversion channel, shops, huts, tent area which was highly appreciated by the yatris.
The CEO during his visit Saturday was informed that all plastic and other non-biodegradable waste materials are being collected and segregated through colour coded dust bins in three different colors viz. yellow for bio-medical, blue for non biodegradable and green for biodegradable wastes from the yatra camps, track and all along the hill slopes and brought down to Baltal and Nunwan where these are crushed in the shredding machines especially installed for the purpose.
He said additional CEO of SASB Anup Kumar Soni informed that a reverse vending machine was being installed by the Shrine Board at Chandanwari for efficiently disposal of plastic bottles in fine flakes which not only reduces the volume of plastic but enables its recycling. This initiative would help in plastic waste disposal, in consonance with the laid down Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, he said.
Appreciating the good work done to keep the yatra camps and track clean, the CEO impressed upon camp directors of all yatra camps to conduct similar drives regularly, and keep a close watch to ensure against any waste and plastic material being thrown into the water bodies and that the head of each agency involved should ensure that all biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste, including plastic wastes, are disposed off in accordance with the action plan already approved and the yatra camps and tracks must be totally free from any waste whatsoever. (UNI)