Controversy over Amarnath road

Srinagar: Amid controversy over building of infrastructure along Amarnath yatra route, the government here has made it clear that it hasn’t received any direction or proposal from the Supreme Court or Government of India about construction of road to the cave shrine.

“The ministry hasn’t received any proposal for construction of road or other infrastructure to the shrine,” Minster for Forest and Environment, Mian Altaf Ahmad told local news agency KNS, here September 3.

Even Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather, while addressing the media, here August 19 said it doesn’t have any plan to construct a road to Amarnath cave or invest in any big infrastructure in Baltal or Pahalgam that could be detrimental to the eco-system. Expressing doubts over the government’s intentions, valley-based civil society groups August 22 decided to follow developments and decided to file representation with the government urging it to include their views in its response to the Supreme Court.

 The group, August 29 said if the state government undertakes any constructions in eco-fragile areas in and around the cave “it has the potential of snowballing into major trouble.”

 The Apex Court August 13 asked the state government to finish construction of roads and widening of passage to Amarnath shrine before snowfall, after taking suo-moto note of media reports of pilgrims’ deaths allegedly due to lack of proper facilities and medical care.

Meanwhile, life across the Kashmir valley remained paralyzed, September 4 owing to a shutdown call by Hurriyat (G) against what it termed “religious, social, cultural and environmental aggression by New Delhi.”

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 September 2012 on page no. 10

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