Srinagar: Authorities have decided to take adequate measures for safety and security of Amarnath Yatris this year.
The Amarnath Yatra is expected to begin from June for which authorities have started making preparations.
A senior police official said stringent security measures will also be put in place, which includes tagging of vehicles with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).
“This will help us to know the precise location of the vehicles carrying Yatris. We will know exactly from which route which vehicle is moving,” the official told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).
After last year’s unfortunate incident when 17 pilgrims died near Amarnath cave due to flash flood, administration has also decided not to allow any establishment like tents, shops, Langars at vulnerable areas along the route to the Cave.
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On July 09 last year, at least 17 Yatris died after a flash flood hit a camp near the Amarnath cave shrine. The administration had come under criticism for allowing tents and fabricated shops and Langars at various places which are vulnerable for flash floods or avalanches.
J&K’s Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta has directed all government departments including the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) to prepare well ahead of the commencement of Yatra for its successful conduct this year.
Mehta has directed to mark the disaster prone areas along the route to Holy Cave and not allow any construction of establishments like tents and shops in those areas for the safety of people.
He asked officials to implement the Supreme Court directions passed in this regard in letter and spirit and give more focus on stabilization of slopes in vulnerable stretches, construction of foot bridges along the yatra track, repairing of safety fencing and removal of slips for the safety and ease of pilgrims.
There are many places along the route to Holy Cave which are vulnerable to disasters like flash floods or avalanches.
“The spot where last year’s unfortunate incident took place, no one will be allowed to erect tents, shops, Langars and toilets at that place. Yatris will be allowed only in those places which are secure and safe,” a senior J&K government official told KINS.
The government has also directed officials to clear the snow along the route before the end of April.
Last year, over 3.65 Yatris participated in the pilgrimage which as per J&K government is the highest figure since 2016.
Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) has asked intending pilgrims to prepare for the Yatra by achieving a high level of physical fitness.
“You are advised to start at least a month prior to the Yatra at least a 4-5 kilometre morning, evening walk. For improving the oxygen efficiency of your body, you should start doing deep breathing exercises and yoga, particularly Pranayam,” the advisory said.
Yatris have been advised to go for morning walk, do breathing exercises, keep their warm clothes and food items and keep themselves hydrated.
These measures Yatris have to take as over 100 pilgrims lost their lives during the Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand last year. These deaths happened due to heart attack, mountain sickness and other causes. The Amarnath holy cave is at a very high altitude of 12,700 feet. One has to cross 14,000 or 15,000 feet on the way. In such a situation, it is necessary to practice deep breathing exercises because there is a lack of oxygen at such a height.