Srinagar, July 21: Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) headed by Lieutenant Governor of J&K Girish Chandera Murmu today said after taking suggestions from all the quarters , it won’t be advisable to conduct the annual pilgrimage this year in the wake of deadly pandemic—COVID-19.
The official announcement, as per news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) in this regard was made after LG Murmu chaired a crucial meeting through video conferencing in Srinagar in which all the members of SASB participated and put forth their views.
Official spokesman in a statement issued here said that the Board deliberated the considered views of the Government on whether to conduct the Yatra. “The Government made reasoned observations supported by facts which suggested that it would not be advisable to conduct the pilgrimage 2020 and it would be advisable to cancel it this year in larger public interest,” the statement read.
It said that this would enable the Health, Civil and Police Administrations to focus on the immediate challenges facing them rather than diverting resources, manpower and attention to the conduct of the pilgrimage.
The statement further said that based on the circumstances, the Board decided with heavy heart that it is not advisable to hold and conduct this year’s Yatra and expressed its regret to announce the cancellation of Yatra 2020.
“The Board is aware of and respects the sentiments of millions of devotees and to keep the religious sentiments alive, the Board shall continue the Live Telecast/ Virtual Darshan of the morning and evening Aarti,” the official statement said. “Further, the traditional rituals shall be carried out as per past practice. Also, the Chhadi Mubarak shall be facilitated by the Government.”
The official spokesman said that the health concerns are so serious that the strain on the health system, along with the diversion in resources to the Yatra, will be immense. “This would also unnecessarily put the Yatris at risk of catching the COVID-19,” he said in the statement.
The official statement read that the Lieutenant Governor, Girish Chandra Murmu, Chairman of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), presided over 39th Board meeting of the SASB in which the Board members participated virtually through video conference to discuss the conduct of the Yatra 2020.
The meeting was attended by B.V.R. Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Shri Bipul Pathak, CEO SASB; Anup Kumar Soni, Addl CEO SASB & senior officers of Shrine Board. Threadbare discussion was held on the current circumstances of COVID-19 pandemic and its likely impact on the Yatra.
The Board was informed that the arrangements were on track since February 2020, but due to nationwide lockdown and pandemic, State Executive Committee, J&K has still continued to keep religious places and places of worship closed for the public.
These prohibitions continue till 31st July. “The Board further discussed that pandemic has put the health administration system to its limit. The spike has been particularly very sharp in July. Health Workers and Security Forces are also getting infected and the focus of the entire Medical, Civil and Police Administration at the moment is on containing the local transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said—(KNO)