Monday, November 29, 1999

Action plan to secure Vaishno Devi track against landslides

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Jammu, June 16 (IANS) A team of scientists arrived here from Bangalore Wednesday to study the hilly track leading to the cave shrine of Vaishno Devi, in a bid to secure the route against landslides and falling stones that often injure or kill pilgrims.The geological experts from National Institute of Rock Mechanics (NIRM), who arrived at Katra, the base camp of the shrine -- 45 km north of Jammu, will study the 13-km track and suggest an action plan, a spokesman of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board said in a release.'The NIRM team has been tasked to undertake a detailed study to address the serious problem of landslides and shooting stones at certain spots of the track, particularly during the rainy season,' the release quoted the board's chief executive officer, R.K. Goyal, as saying.This exercise has been undertaken on the direction of Governor N.N. Vohra, who is also the chairman of the shrine board, the release said.The shrine attracts nearly eight million pilgrims annually.

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