Srinagar, Nov 10: In a recent development, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has undertaken a significant effort to widen the "narrow and vulnerable" tracks leading to the revered Amarnath shrine. The objective is to enhance the comfort and convenience of pilgrims traveling on foot, using palkis, or ponies.
The BRO released a video showcasing the successful expansion of road connectivity to the cave shrine, achieved under "Project Beacon." The initiative, focused on restoring and improving Amarnath Yatra tracks, marked a historic milestone with the first set of vehicles reaching the holy cave, according to the BRO's official social media handle.
However, the news of vehicles reaching the cave shrine has sparked criticism, with political parties raising concerns about the potential environmental impact. Critics argue that allowing vehicles near the Himalayan shrine could be detrimental to the fragile ecosystem.
Responding to the criticism, the BRO issued a statement clarifying that reports suggesting pilgrims would soon access the cave shrine via a vehicular road were factually incorrect. The BRO emphasized that its work, assigned by the Union Territory government in September 2022, aims at maintaining and upgrading the yatra track.
The widening of tracks leading to the holy cave aligns with the directives of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India, issued in response to a writ petition filed in 2012. The court mandated sufficient widening of tracks to accommodate pedestrian traffic, alleviate congestion, and address environmental concerns.
The BRO has been diligently working on widening tracks meant for pilgrims traveling on foot, using palkis/dandies, and ponies. The organisation took over the yatra tracks from the Union Territory government in September 2022 and has since made significant progress in widening stretches, improving gradients, and installing safety railings and retaining walls in vulnerable areas.
Despite facing challenges in completing the work before the last yatra, the BRO, employing manpower and machinery, has successfully widened remaining portions of the tracks. This effort is aimed at ensuring the comfort and convenience of yatris visiting the holy shrine on foot, palkis, dandies, and ponies.
The ongoing project aligns with the commitment to not only meet the Supreme Court's directives but also to enhance the overall satisfaction and safety of yatris during their pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine.