Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra on Saturday announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs one lakh each to the next of kin of three persons killed in a cloudburst near the Baltal base camp for the Amarnath yatra in Ganderbal district of central Kashmir.
Vohra, who is also chairman of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), which manages the affairs of the annual yatra, announced the relief while chairing a high level meeting convened at Raj Bhavan to take stock of the situation arising out of heavy rains and cloudburst in Baltal area, an official spokesman said.
Three persons were killed and 19 others injured while two others went missing after a cloudburst struck near the base camp on Srinagar-Leh road in Ganderbal district of central Kashmir last night.
Expressing grief over the loss of precious lives, the Governor asked the CEO of SASB P K Tripathi to arrange immediate payment of ex-gratia relief of Rs one lakh each to next of kin of the deceased persons.
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The Governor has also conveyed thanks to GOC XV Corps for his prompt personal initiatives to deal with the unforeseen disaster at Baltal.
Briefing the meeting, Tripathi said heavy rains and a cloud burst in the higher reaches of the area adjoining the Baltal Base Camp last night had led to a huge down flow of debris which covered the entire area adjoining the main gate of the Baltal Base Camp.
Senior Civil and police officers and the Yatra Camp Director, along with personnel of state Police, NDRF, SDRF, Army and Central Armed Police Forces immediately swung into action to carry out search and rescue operations, he said.
Quoting from the latest reports, Tripathi said around 50 tents and shops and the parking area outside the main gate of the Baltal Base Camp had been very badly affected.
He said dog squads have been deployed to assist in the ongoing search and rescue operations. Tripathi said a seriously injured person, Abdul Karim of Shopian who was working as a Ponywalla, was air lifted early this morning to SKIMS Srinagar.
Vohra has asked the CEO to airlift, at the Shrine Board’s cost, all seriously injured persons and arrange their best medical treatment.
Ten other persons who suffered minor injuries were admitted to the Baltal Base Hospital for medical attention and are now reported to be out of danger, he said.
The Sonamarg-Ghumri road, leading to the base camp, is closed to vehicular traffic following damages caused by several landslides and the Border Road Organization has been directed to deploy its men and machinery to remove blockades and ensure the earliest possible opening of the road, he said.