On the directions of Governor NN Vohra to Umang Narula, chief executive officer of the Shrine Board, an evacuation cum rescue operation was launched early today to evacuate stranded yatris from Panjtarni to Baltal.
Ailing and the elderly pilgrims were amongst the first to be airlifted by three Indian Air Force MI-17 Helicopters.
A Raj Bhavan spokesman said, "Cancelling a pre-scheduled tour to Jammu, Governor Vohra, accompanied by
advisor BB Vyas and Narula visited Baltal, Panjtarni and Nunwan camps to assess the ground situation."
Besides holding meetings with the Camp Directors and senior Civil officers of the various departments, Deputy Commissioners and SSPs Ganderbal and Anantnag districts, officers of Police, Army, BRO etc, Governor met the pilgrims to hear their problems.
After discussions with deputy commissioners, SSPs, camp directors and all officers concerned, the Governor gave directions regarding the cut-off timings for the upward and downward movements on the Baltal-Panjtarni-Baltal track, the spokesman said in a statement.
He also passed directions regarding deployment of additional police personnel, MRTP rescue teams and SDRF teams at all the critical locations on the tracks to regulate the movement of yatris, particularly those who are unwell; urgent deployment of additional labour for the immediate restoration of the damaged portions of the track and to remain on stand-by for any problem that might arise; installation of lights along the damaged/vulnerable portions of the track; deployment of a magistrate at Brarimarg; camp directors and police to ensure strict enforcement of the rates charged for tents, ponies, porters, palkis, etc., and ensure against any overcharging and J&K Bank to be approached for urgently establishing facility for disbursal of cash at Panjtarni till an ATM is installed there.