Jammu & Kashmir

Widened tracks leading to Amarnath cave not for vehicles: BRO

Vehicles belonging to Boarder Roads Organization outside Amarnath cave.

Srinagar: Despite environmental concerns raised by politicians and environmentalists in Jammu and Kashmir, the Border Roads Organization (BRO) asserts that the widened tracks leading to the Amarnath cave are not intended for vehicular movement.

In a statement, the BRO informed that the work assigned to it for maintenance and upgradation of Amarnath Yatra track by the JK administration in September, 2022 is going on at steady pace during the working window available to it.

The work of widening of tracks leading to the cave has been undertaken in line with the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.

In 2012, the court issued the directions for sufficient widening of tracks to facilitate pedestrian traffic and address congestion on the track, improvement of critical stretches of the existing track, provide safety railings and retaining walls along the vulnerable stretches etc, keeping in view the environmental concerns, the statement said.

The BRO has undertaken widening of the tracks meant for movement of yatris on foot, by palkis/ dandies and on ponies, it added.

Earlier, Vice President of National Conference and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, said that the movement of vehicles there will affect the environment. The government needs to reconsider this decision.

According to Omar, suffering during religious journeys has become a tradition, like when Muslims perform Hajj, even the Tawaf (circling the Kaaba) is not done in vehicles.

Mohit Bhan, a Kashmiri Pandit leader of Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP, criticised the move saying, “This is not history, this is the biggest crime against Hindu religion and faith in nature. Hinduism is all about spiritual immersion in Mother Nature, which is why our pilgrimage sites are in the lap of the Himalayas. Converting religious pilgrimages into picnic spots just for political gains is condemnable. We have seen God’s wrath in Joshimath, Kedarnath, yet we are not learning any lesson, rather we are inviting devastation in Kashmir.”

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