'Curbs on highway reduced to 2 hrs only'

J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik Sunday said the restrictions on the civilian traffic along a stretch of the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway have been reduced from five to two hours only and that people of Kashmir “must bear with it” till the Amarnath pilgrimage is over.

He said the pilgrims were fully satisfied with the hospitality of the local people, the security- and the administrative-level arrangements put in place for the smooth conduct of the pilgrimage that started officially on July 1.

The yatra is going on smoothly from twin base camps in Kashmir— Chandanwari in Anantnag district of south Kashmir and Baltal in Central Kashmir’s Gandebal district.

Talking to reporters at PanthaChowk transit camp of yatris, the Governor said the curbs on the movement of the civilian vehicles from Qazigund to Nashri have been reduced from five to just two hours. “People should bear with it as it is a matter of security of Amarnath pilgrims.”

Replying to a query about suffering of people due to such restrictions, the Governor said in his state, curbs remain in place for more than 30 days for Kawadyatra and people are cooperating there.

The Governor added that there was no complaint in this regard, and restriction on the travel of the civilian vehicles has not caused any impact on the tourist flow to Kashmir. “Look at the tourist places like Gulmarg and Pahalgam. They are flooded with the tourists irrespective of those who come for the pilgrimage,” he said.

“For two hours and for the safety and security of the pilgrims, people have to bear with the curbs till yatra period is over,” he said.

He said people of Kashmir are fully aware of “whatever has happened on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway.”

Asked if the pilgrims were satisfied with the security and other arrangements put in place by the government, the Governor said all the yatris were fully satisfied with the hospitality displayed by the people of Kashmir since decades.

“Yatris like people of Kashmir. Let me tell you again the pilgrimage has been conducted in Kashmir only because of the support of the locals. The pilgrims are also satisfied with the security and administrative-level arrangements. Everything is going on smoothly,” he said.

Replying to a query about the security arrangements, J&K’s Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh said that weather has been favourable with the result all the security arrangements were put in place in a very effective manner.

“Today is the seventh day of the pilgrimage and almost one lakh pilgrims had the Darshan at the holy cave. I have personally visited the base camps and reviewed the arrangements and everything is going on smoothly,” he said. “I am hopeful the flow of Yatris will increase in the days ahead given the way weather is behaving.”

He said on the one hand the Amarnathyatra is going on, and on the other the preparations were also put in place for those going on Hajj pilgrimage.

“As far as security arrangements are concerned, people are cooperating and there is no complaint from the locals,” he said.

Asked whether there would be any restrictions on the Yatra movement on July 8, (death anniversary of BurhanWani), the DGP said that there would be no curbs on the movement of vehicles ferrying Yatris.