Minor landslide at new track to Vaishno Devi; yatra suspended due to bad weather
A minor landslide was reported on the new track to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine on Wednesday due to heavy rainfall, news agency PTI reported. The helicopter services were also suspended due to inclement weather.
After the incident, the authorities stopped the pilgrimage (yatra) to the holy shrine till Thursday morning.
The landslide struck the new track at Panchi on Wednesday afternoon amid heavy rains, prompting the authorities to suspend the battery car service, PTI reported quoting officials at the cave shrine situated in Trikuta Hills.
They said the movement of the pilgrims was diverted to the old track but was later resumed after the debris were cleared. Though the yatra was stopped, pilgrims who were on their way to the cave or had reached the Bhawan were allowed to perform ‘darshan’.
Most parts of the Kashmir valley and high-altitude areas in the Jammu region, including the Jawahar Tunnel, recorded moderate snowfall on Wednesday. In the plains, including Jammu city and Vaishno Devi base camp Katra, intermittent rainfall continued since Tuesday.
According to an advisory issued by the meteorological department, moderate to heavy rain or snow is expected to continue till January 8.
The weather office said Katra recorded 84.2 mm of rainfall from January 3 (8.30 am) till January 5 (5.30 pm), which was the highest in Jammu region. Jammu city witnessed 48.3 mm of rainfall during the same period.
The officials said despite inclement weather, 18,000 pilgrims visited the cave shrine during the day.
Twelve people were killed and 15 others injured as hundreds of thousands of pilgrims rushed to offer prayers on the first day of 2022 leading to a stampede.
According to the police, the stampede occurred after an altercation between some boys among the pilgrims. However, the witnesses alleged mismanagement on part of the shrine board.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration has constituted a three-member panel to investigate the incident.