Jammu, May 24: The Vaishno Devi Yatra resumed on Thursday after being suspended on Wednesday afternoon following a forest fire in Trikuta Hills. The suspension left 10,000 pilgrims stranded in Katra base camp. Another 3,000 were moved to safer place near Himkoti Marg in Adhkuwari area, a media report claimed. Also Read - Coronavirus: IAF's C-17 Globemaster, That Brought Back Stranded Indians From China, to Leave For Iran Today
According to a shrine board official, a total of 25,000 pilgrims had registered at the base camp by 3.30 PM on Wednesday for the yatra. As quoted by a report, he said that the Yatra was suspended immediately from Ban Ganga and Tarakote Marg following the forest fire. There are no injuries to the pilgrims. Also Read - Coronavirus Outbreak: Indian Air Force Flight Leaves For Wuhan With 15 Tonnes of Medical Supplies
The fire reportedly broke out at a new battery car track and soon it spread in the forest, Deputy Commissioner Reasi P Ramaswamy G was quoted as saying. As a precautionary measure, the authorities suspended the pilgrimage from one of the two tracks that lead to the hill shrine. However, pilgrims can still use the old track to visit the shrine. Also Read - 'Wanted to Show Ghus Kar Maarenge,' Says Ex-Air Chief Dhanoa on First Anniversary of Balakot Airstrikes
Two MI-17 helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and a light utility helicopter have been pressed into service to douse the fire. Over 200 ground staff deployed by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Shrine Board are also carrying out the firefighting operations.
The yatra has been witnessing an average footfall of 35,000 pilgrims a day due to summer season.