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Despite tricky weather, number of devotees visiting Amarnath was highest in 5 years: LG

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Says RAS survey by pilgrims shows 93% satisfaction rating on various parameters; hails efforts of all stakeholders including local populace

Srinagar: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Friday congratulated all the stakeholders involved in the conduct of Amarnath Yatra 2022.

Sharing details of this year’s Yatra with the media persons during a press conference at Raj Bhawan Auditorium, the LG informed that this year, 3.65 lakh RFID registered persons performed Darshan at the cave shrine, which is highest in the last five years.

In 2016, 2,20,490 pilgrims had performed Darshan; in 2017, the number was 2,60,003, while in 2018 & 2019 respectively 2,85,006 and 3,43,587 persons had performed Darshan at the holy cave, Sinha informed.

He said that despite inclement weather conditions for 20 days out of 44 days, the overall Yatra remained satisfactory. RAS survey by pilgrims shows 93 percent satisfaction rating on various parameters, while 73 percent of the Darshans were performed in the first 20 days of the Yatra.

“The feedback received from the pilgrims 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 July 8th flash floods and saved many precious lives. The dedication and commitment of our police and the security forces had ensured safety and security of the pilgrims,” observed the LG.

“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 LG listed out various new initiatives taken for the Yatra which was resumed after two years due to Covid pandemic.

The carrying capacity of pilgrims increased by 80 percent as compared to previous years. Special arrangements were made across J&K to accommodate 1,25,000 pilgrims in comparison to 70,000 pilgrims earlier. A new Yatri Niwas at Chanderkote with 3,600 capacity was opened this year which proved to be a key facility in accommodating more pilgrims, even during inclement weather, informed and official handout.

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

According to the handout, 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 pilgrims as well as locals and other stakeholders and saved many precious lives.

This year, helicopter service was availed by the pilgrims from four sectors instead of two sectors. Two new heli-sectors from Srinagar to Neelgrath and Srinagar to Pahalgam opened for pilgrims.  Free of cost battery car service to pilgrims between Baltal and Domel; 200 percent increase in number RO water purifiers in each camp and on the tracks; underground cabling on Baltal axis provided 3-phase 24×7 power supply, back-up gensets helped in providing enhanced facilities to the pilgrims, the handout informed.

It said 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 pilgrims. 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) was established for quick monitoring and immediate response 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 was deployed as Nodal officer for each axis of the Yatra.

To facilitate the pilgrims, the Yatra registration was started on 11th April through both online and offline modes by 566 bank branches of SBI, PNB, J&K Bank and Yes Bank throughout the country, said the LG.

Replying to a question of inclement weather conditions resulting in lessening the expected number of pilgrims, the LG said that no target numbers were fixed for the Yatra.

“Arrangements were made in view of the anticipated increase of pilgrims 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 LG 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 and Baltal routes and culminated on 12th August (Shravan Poornima). The Pratham Pooja was performed by CEO SASB at the 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.

Photo-Javed Khan/ Kashmir Images

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