Expecting a footfall of nearly six lakhs during the annual Amarnath Yatra, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Sunday issued directions to widen walking tracks and build retaining walls with special focus on laying down prefabricated cement tiles on tracks from Baltal.
The directions were passed by Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam, who chaired the 10th meeting of the High-Level Committee of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) here, an official spokesperson said.
The annual pilgrimage usually starts in June-July on the traditional 36-km-long Pahalgam route in Anantnag district and the shorter 14-km-long Baltal route in Ganderbal district. It concludes in August, coinciding with Raksha Bandhan.
The chief secretary reviewed in detail the facilities for safe, smooth, and secure movement of pilgrims, particularly along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway and the Baltal and the Chandanwari tracks up to the cave shrine located at an altitude of 3,880 metres in the South Kashmir Himalayas, the official said.
He said Subrahmanyam also reviewed the status of track upgradation work on both the routes, improvements at the access control gates, establishment of temporary camps, shelter sheds, health and medical camps and emergency operation centres at various locations, provisions of drinking water, lighting, LPG, rations, medicine and mobile connectivity besides the establishment of Joint Control Rooms as per NDMA suggestion.
The chief secretary enjoined upon the administration to undertake preparations for an expected footfall of six lakh ‘yatris’ this year.
“To further ensure secure passage of pilgrims, directions were issued to appropriately widen walking tracks, install railings, and construct retaining walls with special focus on laying down prefabricated cement tiles on tracks from Baltal,” the spokesperson said.