Open Leh-Kargil-Drass-Baltal route for safe Amarnath pilgrimage: VHP

JAMMU: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Jammu and Kashmir, urged Governor, N.N Vohra, who is also Chairman of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, to open alternate safe Yatra route and advertise appropriately among the visiting pilgrims.
“In view of our experience of disruptions in Yatras during previous years when anti-national elements operating in Kashmir caused obstructions in conduct of Yatra we feel that an alternate safe Yatra route is required to be put in place,” Surendra Kumar Jain, International Joint Secretary VHP, told reporters here on Tuesday.
“Though we strongly advocate the need of opening up of all the trek routes to Holy Cave as submitted in Supreme Court and to SASB but for Yatra 2017, interested Yatris should be encouraged and facilitated to use air/land route via Leh-Kargil-Drass-Baltal to Holy Cave,” he said adding that this route involves least additional facilities and pilgrims can even start early morning from Drass and return to Drass in the evening after having Darshans provided traffic management at Zojila Pass is undertaken professionally.

He also suggested opening up of current Yatra registration counters at Kargil and Drass for facilitating the intending Yatris, opening of online advance registration for all for periods excluding first 15 days of Yatra and giving due representation to BABA Niyas in Yatra’s decision making processes. “It is the need of time to create an atmosphere of confidence among Shiv Bhakts that no stone pelter or other separatists will be allowed to disturb the Yatra and it will be a safe Yatra from any man made calamity,” he said.
He also appealed to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to withdraw service tax on helicopter services and other levies on pilgrims, make comprehensive traffic management plan in view the utilisation of Srinagar Jammu Road via Bafliaz and Rajouri in order to keep smooth movement of traffic during Yatra period and to exempt vehicles carrying pilgrims bound for Shri Anmarnath Yatra from road tax and other taxes enroute.