KATRA: Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has suspended pilgrimage to the world-famous Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Cave Shrine on Wednesday evening due to incessant rain.
“Due to continuous rains from Tuesday, the pilgrimage to the cave shrine was suspended this evening at 7.00 pm from Katra base camp,” a Shrine Board official said. He said that till this time, 19,000 pilgrims had left the base camp for Bhawan, adding, “due to the landslide triggered because of rains, the yatra was diverted from the new track towards the traditional route.”
The battery car service was also suspended in view of shooting stones and landslides on the new route, he added.
Meanwhile, dense fog in the Trikuta Hills forced the authorities to suspend the helicopter service from Katra to Sanjichhat, said an official. Notably, on the intervening night of December 31-January 1, 12 pilgrims died and 16 were injured during a stampede at Bhawan due to heavy rush.
Jammu and Kashmir Government has also framed a panel and ordered a probe to ascertain the cause that led to stampede.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party have lambasted the administration for its casual approach to regulate pilgrims rush at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine despite a tragic incident on the eve of the new year resulting death of around a dozen visitors.
In a statement, here today, spokesperson of the party Advocate Anil Sethi said that the administration seems to have woken up from its slumber after the catastrophic incident of the stampede but the measures are being taken from within the four walls of the civil secretariat and Raj Bhawan without understanding the ground realities.
“Curbs and restrictions seem to be the only way this administration takes refuge under”, Advocate Sethi said, adding, “The administration has come up with the dictate making it mandatory for all the pilgrims to make online registration prior to visiting the Shrine putting disadvantage to the thousands of visitors who are not acquainted with the technology.”—(KNO)