Jammu: The annual Hindu pilgrimage Amarnath Yatra remained suspended for the second day on Monday as no pilgrim was allowed to proceed towards Kashmir Valley due to bad weather, police said.
“No yatri was allowed to move towards the valley today from Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas because of bad weather and closure of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway”, a senior police officer said in Jammu on Monday.
Landslides triggered by heavy rains have blocked the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, the only surface link to the valley, at some places in Ramban district of Jammu region.
Meanwhile, authorities said in Srinagar that no pilgrim will be allowed to move towards the Amarnath cave shrine from either the north Kashmir Baltal or the south Kashmir Nunwan (Pahalgam) base camps on Monday.
“Heavy rains are lashing the mountainous track on both sides. The situation will be reviewed only after the weather improves. No yatri is stranded anywhere along the track and all are lodged at safe places inside the two base camps and the transit camps,” said an official of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) that manages the affairs of the Hindu pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave shrine. (IANS)
A conclave of the Himalayan states here on Sunday urged the Centre for development of new tourist destinations, a new central ministry, steps to stop the widespread migration from hill states and green bonus for them considering their contribution in preserving the eco-system.
Chief Ministers and representatives of 10 Himalayan states urged development of new tourist destinations in these states as old hill resorts had reached saturation.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission N.K. Singh and NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar also attended the conference and assured them all necessary help to address the issues related to the Himalayan states.
Briefing the media at the end of conclave, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said the Centre must take early steps to stop the widespread migration from the hills. A separate ministry for the Himalayan states should also be set up, he said.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said the mountainous and hilly Himalayan states faced various challenges due to several factors, like topography and harsh terrain, that contributed to development disability and urged the Centre and the 15th Finance Commission to take these aspects into consideration while allocating funds.
“These states are the sentinels of border security as they share international border with Pakistan, China, Myanmar and Bangladesh, which poses military and demographic security threats,” he said
Stating that Himalayan states contributed to the nation’s eco-system through climate regulation, carbon sequestration as well as source of water, the Nagaland Chief Minister said special attention should be given to these aspects.
Hailing the Finance Commission’s proposal to increase the state’s share in taxes from 42 per cent to 50 per cent, Rio said even with this Nagaland would remain a revenue-deficit state.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conard Sangma said it was important that the Himalayan states come together to push the agenda for growth and development.
Echoing Sangma, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur advocated formulation of a holistic Himalayan policy for sustainable development of these states at par with other states.
On the green bonus issue, the Uttarakhand Chief Minister said the Himalayan states were providing environment security for the country. For providing river waters, clean air and preserving forests, Uttarakhand has been demanding financial support giving it a name of green bonus.
The Himalayan conclave would be held every year, he added.
A Mussoorie resolution was also passed. “The hill states pledge to make endeavour to protect and conserve our rich Himalayan heritage and ethos for the prosperity and well being of the nation,” it said.
“We pledge to cherish and nurture the wealth of our biodiversity — glaciers, rivers, lakes, precious forests and wildlife. We also pledge to preserve our vibrant folkart and crafts, the culture and folklore to pass them on to the next generations,” it said.
The resolution also said the Himalayan states would conserve the spiritual legacy of the hill culture and create conducive environment for enrichment of the human spirit.
They pledged to workout strategies for sustainable development of mountain areas, cherish and conserve the history of hill societies and legends and the glory associated with the lofty Himalayas.
Himalayan glaciers across India, China, Nepal and Bhutan have been losing the equivalent of more than a vertical foot and half of ice each year since 2000, a new comprehensive international study said on Wednesday.
The analysis, spanning 40 years of satellite observations, indicates that melting of the Himalayan glaciers caused by rising temperatures has accelerated dramatically since the start of the 21st century — almost double the amount of melting that took place from 1975 to 2000.
The study is the latest and perhaps most convincing indication that climate change is eating the Himalayas’ glaciers, potentially threatening water supplies for hundreds of millions of people downstream across much of Asia.
“This is the clearest picture yet of how fast Himalayan glaciers are melting over this time interval, and why,” said lead author Joshua Maurer, a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
While not specifically calculated in the study, the glaciers may have lost as much as a quarter of their enormous mass over the last four decades, said Maurer.
The study appears this week in the journal Science Advances.
Currently harboring some 600 billion tonnes of ice, the Himalayas are sometimes called the earth’s “Third Pole”.
Many other recent studies have suggested that the glaciers are wasting, including one this year projecting that up to two-thirds of the current ice cover could be gone by 2100.
But up to now, observations have been somewhat fragmented, zeroing in on shorter time periods, or only individual glaciers or certain regions.
These studies have produced sometimes contradictory results, both regarding the degree of ice loss and the causes.
The new study synthesises data from across the region, stretching from early satellite observations to the present.
The synthesis indicates that the melting is consistent in time and space, and that rising temperatures are to blame.
Temperatures vary from place to place, but from 2000 to 2016 they have averaged one degree Centigrade (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than those from 1975 to 2000.
Maurer and his colleagues analysed repeat satellite images of some 650 glaciers spanning 2,000 kms from west to east. Many of the 20th-century observations came from recently declassified photographic images taken by US spy satellites.
The researchers created an automated system to turn these into 3D models that could show the changing elevations of glaciers over time.
They then compared these images with post-2000 optical data from more sophisticated satellites, which more directly convey elevation changes.
They found that from 1975 to 2000, glaciers across the region lost an average of about 0.25 metres (10 inches) of ice each year in the face of slight warming.
Following a more pronounced warming trend starting in the 1990s, starting in 2000 the loss accelerated to about half a meter (20 inches) annually.
Recent yearly losses have averaged about 8 billion tonnes of water, or the equivalent 3.2 million Olympic-size swimming pools, said Maurer.
Most individual glaciers are not wasting uniformly over their entire surfaces, he noted; melting has been concentrated mainly at lower elevations, where some ice surfaces are losing as much as five metres (16 feet) a year.
Some researchers have argued that factors other than temperature are affecting the glaciers. These include changes in precipitation, which seems to be declining in some areas (which would tend to reduce the ice), but increasing in others (which would tend to build it).
Another factor: Asian nations are burning ever-greater loads of fossil fuels and biomass, sending soot into the sky.
Much of it eventually lands on snowy glacier surfaces, where it absorbs solar energy and hastens melting.
Maurer agrees that both soot and precipitation are factors, but due to the region’s huge size and extreme topography, the effects are highly variable from place to place.
Overall, he says, temperature is the overarching force. To confirm this, he and his colleagues compiled temperature data during the study period from ground stations and then calculated the amount of melting that observed temperature increases would be expected to produce.
They then compared those figures with what actually happened. They matched.
“It looks just like what we would expect if warming were the dominant driver of ice loss,” he said. (IANS)
Amarnath Yatra is known to be one of the most difficult pilgrimages in India due to a plethora of reasons. Amongst many reasons, frequent terrorist attacks on Amarnath raises the level of complexity and challenges for the pilgrims. The area also extends to the land of Jammu & Kashmir, which has beheld tensions of late.
In the wake of the terror attack on the bus carrying Amarnath yatris on Monday, it is important to acquaint people with the Amarnath Yatra’s dos and don’ts. The bus that was attacked recently was neither registered with the Sri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) nor adhered to the security details obligatory for the sojourners with respect to the terror threat.
The Amarnath Yatra is open for the Shiva devotees from June 29 to August 7, 2017.
Here are the Amarnath Yatra safety tips in order to ensure a safe pilgrimage to the ‘Baba Amaranth Shivling’ mounted on 13,000 feet height.
The temperature may fall up to 5 degree Celsius, hence it is advised to carry sufficient Wollen Clothes.
The Yatra bus carrying the pilgrims is prohibited after 7 pm. One must carry the yatra permit and requisite papers all the time with themselves.
One must keep in their pocket a note containing the name/address, a mobile telephone number of any yatri progressing for darshan on the same dates for emergency purposes.
Travel in groups rather in isolation.
In the case of any mishap or sudden emergency situation, immediately contact the nearest Camp Director / Mountain Rescue Teams (MRTs) stationed at various locations.
Ensure that the pony man or the person who carries your luggage is registered with the police and carries an identity card.
Pre-paid SIM Cards from the states outside J&K do not work in the yatra area. Yatris can obtain pre-activated SIM Cards at the base camps of Baltal and Nunwan.
Do carry medicines for cold, fever, vomit and first aid kit with you while taking the pilgrimage.