Amid huge tourist influx, expected bigger Amarnath yatra likely to cause shortage of public transport

Transporters admit probable shortage, say Govt not allowing more vehicles to ply, commuters express resentment

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

Srinagar, May 19 (ANH): As the huge influx of tourists have already kept the transporters engaged with visitors, the forthcoming annual Amarnath Yatra, commencing from June 30, 2022, is expected to lead to the shortage of public transport in the Valley, which would leave the local populace here to lurch at large.

During the 43-day-long pilgrimage, around eight lakh pilgrims are expected to pay obeisance at holy cave, located in Pahalgam area of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

The registration for pilgrimage is taking place after a gap of two years as the annual religious practice remained suspected in wake of the deadly pandemic—Covid -19 that claimed hundreds of lives and infected thousands of people in Jammu and Kashmir like other parts of the country.

While reviewing yatra arrangements on April 11, the union Information &Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry’s Secretary, Apurva Chandra had said that this year’s yatra is expected to be much bigger than before.

“Around 6-8 lakh pilgrims are expected to pay obeisance at the holy cave. Full proof security measures are being taken for smooth conduct of the yatra,” he had added.

General Secretary of All Kashmir Taxi Maxi Cab Transporters (ATMCT), Rouf Ahmad Ahanger while talking to Asian News Hub (ANH) admitted that the shortage of transport will be cent percent felt on the ground during forthcoming annual Amarnath yatra.

“We have already approached the government many times to allow more vehicles to ply but nothing has been done in this regard. Had the permission been granted, many unemployed youth would have been earning their livelihood,” he added.

With a huge number of tourists and devotees expected to arrive in the valley this season, the shortage of public transport would likely create problems for the commuters, especially during peak hours.

“The commuters are already facing inconvenience in absence of adequate public transport. The government is doing nothing to address the grave issue. It should provide better transport facilities to the commuters,” Arif Hussain, a commuter at Amira Kadal, who travels daily from Hazratbal to Batmaloo to attend his office, said.

The majority of the population doesn’t have their own transport and thus use public transport for traveling to reach their destinations.

“We are not against anyone. Tourists, devotees as well as the local populace equally need public transport to commute. The government should not leave us at God’s mercy rather should make prior arrangements for the wellbeing of the people,” said another commuter, Arshid Ahmad at Khanyar, who travels from Khanyar to Lal Chowk to reach his shop.

Despite repeated attempts, transport commissioner of J&K, Bhupinder Kumar could not be contacted for his comments.(ANH)