Amarnath pilgrims complain poor arrangements by local administration

July 1st, 2008 - 4:49 pm ICT by ANI  

By Parvez Butt
Srinagar, July 1 (ANI): The ongoing protests in various parts of the Jammu and Kashmir have left many pilgrims stranded in the valley.
The pilgrims are blaming the government authorities for poor
A large number of pilgrims are fuming with anger here over the government authorities poor transport and accommodation arrangements.
The pilgrims, returning from the revered Amarnath shrine are desperate to return homes at the earliest.
“The government should have made proper arrangements for the pilgrims. But the local administration didnt bother about it. The protests are being staged so openly. We are facing problem for the last three days. We dont feel safe amidst all this,” said Sangeeta, a pilgrim.
“All tourists are facing problems here. Its close everywhere, wherever one may go. There is no food arrangement for the tourists. The tourists have stuck here, they are just thinking how to get out of this place,” said Nitish Kumar, another pilgrim.
Department of Tourism, however, claims to have done all necessary arrangements like extra buses to move the pilgrims to Jammu.
“The government is very much concerned and we are taking care of the tourists. Our tourists are not facing any problem. Our hoteliers are taking care of the tourists and besides that all the arrangements, the basic arrangement they want are being made for the tourists by local residents and also by the department, said Sarmand Hafiz, Joint Director of Tourism, Jammu and Kashmir.
Besides there are some tourists who have either returned from pilgrimage or going to Sonmarg or Pahalgam, the arrangements have been made for them also. Vehicles are available for them and they are being dispatched to their respective places,” said Hafiz.
The PDP’s (People’s Democratic Party) withdrawal from the ruling coalition followed intense protests in different parts of the State for about a week, demanding revocation of a government order transferring 100 acres of forest land to the SASB.
On Sunday (June 29), the State government revoked the transfer decision after the SASB voluntarily gave up its demand for transfer of land amidst violent protests by extremists and separatists.
But now Jammu has become the centre of violent protests by other groups protesting revocation of the transfer of land.
During the two-month-long pilgrimage, tens of thousands of devout Hindus trek to the cave, situated at an altitude of 3,800 meters (12,700 feet), to worship before the Shivaling (ice stalagmite) that symbolizes presence of Lord Shiva at Amarnath shrine. (ANI)

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