Amarnath Shrine accessible by road, sparks controversy

01 Nov 2023

Celebrating a significant achievement, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has successfully extended the road network to the revered Amarnath shrine in Jammu and Kashmir, providing motorable access to the holy cave. This development, aimed at enhancing the convenience and accessibility of the pilgrimage, involved widening the road from Dumail to the Amarnath cave through the Baltal base camp in Ganderbal district, central Kashmir. Officials confirmed the completion of this expansion, with the inaugural batch of vehicles reaching the shrine, praising the BRO for their historic accomplishment in establishing road connectivity to the Amarnath cave.

The BRO, through Project Beacon, undertook the restoration and improvement of the Amarnath Yatra tracks. They shared a video showcasing the vehicles' journey to the Amarnath cave, highlighting their remarkable feat and the historic moment when the holy cave became accessible via a motorable road.

Previously, the Baltal shrine track in Ganderbal district was maintained by the Jammu and Kashmir government's Public Works Department (PWD), and the Pahalgam shrine route in Anantnag district was managed by the Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA). In September of the previous year, the responsibility for maintenance and upgrading of the Amarnath Yatra tracks was transferred to the BRO.

However, the People's Democratic Party (PDP) criticized this development, denouncing it as a grave offense against Hindu faith. PDP spokesperson Mohit Bhan expressed his disapproval, arguing that transforming religious pilgrimages into mere picnic spots for political gains amounted to sacrilege. He emphasized the sanctity of Hinduism, rooted in the connection with nature, and warned against disregarding the lessons from past natural disasters in places like Joshimath and Kedarnath, urging caution in altering the spiritual landscape of Kashmir.

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