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Frequent landslides raise questions; CRPF Jawan dies at Vaishno Devi Shrine

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crpfSTATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: Second major incident of landslide in a short span of 18 days along the Mata Vaishno Devi holy trek in which one CRPF jawan was killed on Wednesday has raised question marks over the nature of damages the high hills may have suffered owing to massive construction activity to create better infrastructure facilities for the growing number of pilgrims.
According to eyewitness reports, on Wednesday afternoon when a CRPF jawan was discharging his duty near Gate No 3 in the Holy Cave Shrine, he was crushed under the massive landslide which came tumbling down from the high hills surrounding the Bhavan.
This is the second major incident of landslip in a short span of three weeks. Earlier, four people including three pilgrims were killed in a landslide near Adhkuwari on 6th August following landslides triggered by heavy rains in the area.
It is known to everyone, undertaking the Yatra, that there are certain vulnerable spots along the 13 km trek but the two recent incidents have been reported from new zones along the route and this raises suspicion about the longevity of the vulnerable hills and steps being taken by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board authorities to ensure safety of the pilgrims along the route.
Since separate tracks have been carved out in the recent years to ease pressure on the traditional route, the Trikuta Hills have witnessed massive construction activity under the expert vigil of civil engineers and other agencies involved in the ambitious projects.
From time to time Geological Survey of India and Indian Institute of Technology Delhi have been providing their expertise to the Shrine Board to study the ecology and strength of the hills before undertaking major infrastructural project.
Recently, Chairman of the SMVDSB N.N Vohra had directed the CEO Shrine Board A. K Sahu to submit a report on the frequent incidents of land sliding and measures taken up by the Board to address the issue keeping in mind the safety of the pilgrims.

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