Bad weather, landslides force authorities to suspend Amarnath Yatra temporarily

The ongoing Amarnath Yatra was temporarily stopped after inclement weather and landslides blocked the Jammu-Srinagar national highway on Saturday. Heavy rain triggered landslides in many areas in the Panthiyal and Digdol areas of Ramban district. Reports suggest that the convoys of Amarnath yatris had already crossed the area.

Already authorities have stopped the movement of pilgrims, as some yatris on the way back are stranded between Banihal and Ramsoo in Ramban district. They said all are safe and they are being taken care of, according to officials.

The Yatra will resume only after weather conditions improve. So far, 26 pilgrims have died during the yatra. Besides, two volunteers and two security personnel have also lost their lives.

Meanwhile, landslides have been reported from areas near the Zojila Pass on the Srinagar-Leh national highway on Saturday morning. The traffic remains disrupted.

“Heavy rains lashed yesterday night and this has triggered massive landslides in Pathiyal and nearby areas. Movement of yatris on Baltal and Pahalgam tracks towards the cave shrine has been stopped. All yatris are camped at safe places. The decision to allow the pilgrims towards the cave shrine would only be taken after the weather improves,” said an official.

The official added that the Yatra will resume only after weather conditions improve. So far, 26 pilgrims have died during the yatra. Besides, two volunteers and two security personnel have also lost their lives.

The Met department has issued an alert. “Moderate to heavy showers occurred at many places and the same is likely to continue for the next 24 hours including on the yatra routes. Due to intermittent rain since the last few days, soil is saturated and additional rain may trigger landslide, flash flood and mudslides which may lead to closure of highways and local roads. General public, administration, state disaster relief force and yatra managers are requested to remain cautious for next few days as weather is adverse and likely to remain so during the next 24 hours.”

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