30,000 people registered themselves in last 22 days, further decision to be taken by board as & when situation improves: Addl CEO SASB
SRINAGAR: The Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) on Thursday announced the temporary suspension of the registration process Amarnath Yatra-2021 with officials saying that a total of 30,000 intending pilgrims have registered themselves for the pilgrimage so far.
Talking exclusively to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Additional CEO SASB, Anup Kumar Soni, said that the board has suspended the registration process temporarily in wake of the worsening situation due to COVID-19 across the country.
He said in last 22 days, a total of 30,000 people across the country have registered themselves for the pilgrimage this year. The registration process commenced on April 1 through 446 designated branches of Punjab National Bank, Jammu and Kashmir Bank and YES bank in 37 states and Union Territories. The board had said that the Yatra will commence on June 28 and will culminate, as per the tradition, on the day of Raskha Bandhan festival on August 22.
Soni further stated that in wake of the situation that arises due to the ongoing pandemic, the board has suspended the registration process temporarily. He added that as and when the situation improves, the decision in the interests of the public would be taken accordingly.
“Only registration process has been suspended temporarily,” he said.
Pertinently, for the first time, the Jammu and Kashmir was all set to receive six lakh Amarnath Yatris this year. The administration had also started preparations to receive the record number of pilgrims.
On March 24, Chief Secretary chaired a meeting and reviewed the arrangements for safe, smooth, and secure movement of pilgrims particularly along the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and Baltal and Chandanwari yatra tracks up to the Holy Cave.
He had enjoined upon the administration to undertake preparations for an expected footfall of 6 lakh yatris this year. To ensure secure passage of pilgrims, directions were issued to appropriately ramp up the holding capacities, yatri accommodations, and public utilities across the route from Lakhanpur to the Holy cave and vice-versa; with special attention to arrangements in consideration of weather extremities.
Notably, the SASB cancelled last year’s Amarnath Yatra due to conditions created by COVID-19. The decision was taken at a meeting of SASB to discuss the conduct of the Yatra 2020, which was presided over by the then Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu, who was also Chairman of the shrine board.
In 2019, the yatra was called off mid-way on August 2, three days before the Central government trashed the special status of Jammu and Kashmir (Article 370) and bifurcated the State into two Union Territories.