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Amarnath Yatra resumes from Jammu after 3-day suspension

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Jmu-Sgr highway opens for traffic

Jammu/Srinagar: The Amarnath Yatra resumed from the Jammu base camp on Tuesday afternoon after remaining suspended for three days in view of the closure of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway for repairs in the Ramban section.

A fresh batch of pilgrims was allowed to move towards Kashmir for their onward journey to the Amarnath cave shrine as the highway, which had been damaged at several places due to incessant rainfall, was opened, they said.

Amarnath pilgrims usually leave Jammu between 3.45 am and 4.30 am every day. The suspension of the yatra had left around 15,000 pilgrims stranded in Jammu and at other places.

Those stranded at Qazigund were also allowed to move towards Jammu, the officials said.

In view of the suspension of the yatra, around 8,000 pilgrims were stranded in Jammu, particularly the Bhagwatinagar base camp.

Similarly, around 6,000 pilgrims were stranded at the Chanderkot base camp in Ramban district. Nearly 2,000 pilgrims were stranded at Kathua and Samba camps.

The 62-day annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine located at an altitude of 3,888 metres in the south Kashmir Himalayas began on July 1.

Since June 30, a total of 43,833 pilgrims have departed for the cave shrine from the Jammu base camp in seven batches. The pilgrimage is scheduled to conclude on August 31.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh said that the Srinagar-Jammu national highway has been made through after three days and stranded vehicles ferrying 5500 pilgrims were allowed to proceed towards Srinagar.

He said more 5500 pilgrims have been allowed to move upwards while a final decision by the Traffic authorities about traffic movement on the highway will be taken this evening.

Pertinently, the highway was blocked after incessant rains triggered landslides that resulted in the caving in of the road stretches at Chamb Seri and Panthal. The DGP said the National Highway Authorities of India did a commendable job by restoring the highway.

“At Chamb Seri area, a portion has been black topped while the remaining portion has to be blacktopped as well. However, at Panthal, road stretch between the two tunnels had caved in and the Highway Authorities managed an alternate motorable stretch within shortest possible time,” the DGP said, adding that stranded vehicles ferrying 5500 Amarnath pilgrims were allowed to proceed towards Srinagar while another 5500 pilgrims were allowed to move towards upwards.

“Firstly, all stranded vehicles, especially the vehicles ferrying pilgrims will be allowed to proceed towards Srinagar. In the evening, Traffic authorities will sit and take a call on traffic movement on the highway,” he said, the road was made through after five days as rains lashed J&K last week.

Singh was accompanied by ADGP Jammu Mukesh Singh, IG traffic, DC Ramban, SSP traffic NHW and other officials. He took stock of the road restoration at Chamba Seri, Ramban.

The DGP inspected the restoration works of dilapidated roads at Lambar, Panthyal & Seri in Ramban. Project Director NHAI officer Shri Parshotam Kumar briefed the DGP about the progress of the ongoing maintenance work. Measures being taken to address the issues were discussed and certain necessary directions were given on spot by the DGP for the smooth passage of the traffic on NHW.

Expressing his satisfaction over the maintenance work going on and measures taken for restoration of traffic, the DGP instructed the executing agency to ensure completion of work on war footing and directed to keep adequate machinery at all vulnerable places to clear roads. He directed all the concerned departments to expedite the work to ensure that all necessary measures are taken for the safe and smooth travel of the yatris, tourists and of locals.

He further directed senior traffic and jurisdictional officers to formulate a traffic plan for smooth flow of traffic movement, adding that there would be heavy rush of vehicles in view of restriction of traffic movement during the last few days. He directed for utilization of manpower and machinery in a systematic way.

During the tour, the DGP also visited the transit camps in Banihal and Walnut Factory in Anantnag to review the security arrangements and other facilities being provided to the yatris. He also inspected langers and other stalls in these camps. He directed the officials to ensure that all necessary facilities and security arrangements are in place for the smooth conduct of the pilgrimage. (with inputs from PTI)


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