3.65 lakh pilgrims visited Amarnath shrine this year: LG Sinha

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Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Friday said no target numbers were fixed for the annual Amaranth Yatra.

While addressing a presser regarding the annual Hindu pilgrimage at Raj Bhawan Auditorium, the Lt Governor informed that this year, Amaranth Yatra witnessed 3.65 lakh RFID registered persons performing darshan at the cave shrine, which he said was highest in the last five years.

In 2016, 2,20,490 performed darshan. In 2017, the number was 2,60,003, while in 2018 and 2019, 2,85,006 and 3,43,587 persons performed darshan at the holy cave.

The Lt Governor said that despite inclement weather conditions for 20 days out of 44 days, the overall Yatra remained satisfactory.

RAS survey by yatris shows 93 percent satisfaction rating on various parameters, while 73 percent of the darshans performed in the first 20 days of Yatra.

The feedback received from the yatris about the facilities has been overwhelming for the administration, he added.

Shrine Board, Civil Administration, J-K Police, Army, CAPFs, NDRF, SDRF, Volunteers, other stakeholders, especially the locals of J-K quickly carried out rescue and evacuation operations after 8 July flash floods and saved many precious lives. The dedication and commitment of Police and the Security Forces had ensured safety and security of the pilgrims, observed the Lt Governor.

“I also express gratitude to the Central government and the media persons for their support in the successful conduct of the Yatra,” he added.

The Lt Governor enlisted various new initiatives taken for Amarnath Yatra which was resumed after two years due to Covid pandemic.

The carrying capacity of yatris was increased by 80 percent as compared to previous years. Special arrangements were made across J-K to accommodate 1,25,000 Yatris in comparison to 70,000 Yatris earlier.

A new Yatri Niwas at Chanderkote with 3600 capacity was opened for Yatris this year which proved to be a key facility in accommodating more yatris, even during inclement weather.

For the first time, RFID tracking of yatris was introduced which proved very helpful in tracking of the yatris, especially during the time of disaster on 8th July, many yatris could be traced using RFID technology.

240 percent increase in the number of toilets and unprecedented sanitation arrangements ensured litter free and open defecation free yatra. Moreover, 190 percent increase in number of beds in hospitals, additional 100 bedded medical facility developed at each of the base camps and 50 beds installed additionally on each axis, 85 percent increase in number of oxygen booths, besides two DRDO hospitals one each at Baltal and Chandanwari had aptly catered to the health needs of the yatris as well as locals and other stakeholders and saved many precious lives.

This year, helicopter service was availed by the yatris from four sectors instead of two sectors. Two new heli sectors from Srinagar to Neelgrath and Srinagar to Pahalgam opened for Yatris. Free of cost Battery car service to yatris between Baltal and Domel; 200 % increase in number RO water purifier in each camp and on the tracks; underground cabling on Baltal axis provided 3-phase 24×7 Power supply, back up Gen sets helped in providing enhanced facilities to the yatris.

PTZ cameras installed on yatra tracks for surveillance resolved many issues and helped in minute-to-minute monitoring of yatra. Prepaid system introduced for hiring of Pony, Pithhos and Palkis also prevented overcharging of yatris. Three times the number of Camp Officers deployed to effectively manage the Yatra. Daily Coordination meetings by CEO SASB with Divisional Commissioners, DCs, Camp Officers and other stakeholders yielded better results.

Integrated Command & Control Center (IIIC) for quick monitoring and immediate response established at Srinagar with Nodal officers from all concerned Departments.

Volunteer students from Indian Institute of Technology- IIT Jammu rendered their service in yatra in Technological assistance. One Senior IAS officer deployed as Nodal officer for each Axis of the yatra.

To facilitate the yatris, the yatra registration was started on 11 April through both online and offline modes by 566 Bank Branches of SBI, PNB, JK bank and Yes Bank throughout the country, said the Lt Governor.

Replying to a question of inclement weather conditions resulting in lessening the expected number of yatris, the Lt Governor said that no target numbers were fixed for the yatra. Arrangements were made in view of the anticipated increase of yatris since Yatra couldn’t take place in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid.

As far as the question of presence of any lake over the cave, the Lt Governor said that experts were consulted in this regard and no water body was found there.

Pertinently, the 44-day Yatra started on 30th June (Ashad Shukla Pratipada) from both Pahalgam & Baltal Routes and culminated on 12th August (Shravan Poornima). The Pratham Pooja was performed by CEO SASB at Holy Cave Shrine on 14th June on the auspicious day of Jyestha Poornima.

The Lieutenant Governor flagged off the First Convoy from Bhagwati Nagar, Jammu on 29th June and performed the Pooja on 30th June to mark the commencement of Yatra 2022. (GNS)

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