Incident free Amarnath Yatra a unique symbol of Kashmiryat: Sinha
21 September 2004
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu: The describing this year’s incident free Amarnath yatra as the triumph of Kashmiryat and exemplary alertness of the security forces, Governor, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) S. K. Sinha today said pilgrim tourism is a key to give fillip to the Kashmir economy. Chairing the 7th meeting of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) at New Delhi this evening, the Governor, who is also the chairman lauded the people of Kashmir for extending their traditional welcome to yatris during the about 2- months long yatra. 'This unfold the unique and unparalled cultural ethos of the valley which has withstood test of time and emerged as a shining symbol of secularism', the Governor said and hoped that this tradition would gain momentum in the years to come. He said the yatris left with pleasant memories of Kashmir after paying obeisance at the holy cave shrine and hoped they will serve as ambassadors of peace in their respective states. He said that visit of such a record number of devotees had a good impact on the Kashmir economy. The Governor reiterated that the Shrine Board would take care of environmental aspects of the yatra in future and referred to recent cleanliness drive launched with the help of local school children, volunteers of Jawahar Mountaineering Institute, NCC and NGOs to ensure pollution free environment in the picturesque valley and various points enroute the cave shrine. The Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Arun Kumar briefed the board about this year’s yatra and said that over four lakh pilgrims paid obeisance at the cave shrine from July 1 to Raksha Bandhan on August 30, 2004. The SASB received cash donation of Rs. 2.80 crore besides offerings in kind like gold and silver, sarees, dhotis, utensils etc, which are being valued. Dr. Kumar referred to the close co-ordination between SASB staff at the holy cave with agencies like Police, Telecommunication, Security Forces, BSNL, NGOs, Health, Power, Forest PDO Pahalgam etc that helped in making the yatra a grand success. The Board members, Mr. Jagmohan, former Union Tourism Minister, Mahant Depender Giri, Mrs. Vimla Dhar, Mr. Ajay Vikram Singh, Secretary Defence, Justice (Retd.) G. D. Sharma and former Chief Executive Officer of SASB, Mr. Parveez Dewan attended the meeting. Besides Development Commissioner, SASB, Mr I.C. Jandial and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, SASB Mr. Tufail Matoo were present in the meeting.