Amarnath Yatra: First batch of pilgrims to leave from Jammu on Friday

Amarnath Yatra: First batch of pilgrims to leave from Jammu on Friday


Jammu, June 27: The first batch of pilgrims for the 52-day Shri Amarnath Yatra will leave from Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas base camp here amidst tight security arrangements.

Official sources said that the first batch of pilgrims will be flagged off from the Yatri Niwas early in the in the morning.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has made elaborate arrangements for the pilgrims for smooth and hassle-free pilgrimage.

“All arrangements are in place, and the administration is ready to welcome the pilgrims,” said an official.

Jammu Divisional Commissioner Ramesh Kumar, along with Additional Director General of Police, Jammu Zone, Anand Jain, also inspected the final arrangements and preparations made by the administration for the Shri Amarnath Yatra.

The officers issued directions to ensure seamless provision of all the facilities and services to the pilgrims arriving at the Yatri Niwas for the Shri Amarnath holy yatra.

He directed monitoring the functioning of the 24×7 control room and ensuring the attendance of representatives of essential services, while transport officials were asked to widely publicize the rates of private taxis and three-wheelers for the information of yatris.

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, who is also the chairman of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) on June 22 while chairing a high level security review meeting, took stock of arrangements put-in by the different agencies and civil administration for the Amarnath Yatra.

Sinha stressed the incident-free Amarnath Yatra and directed the officials to keep extra vigil on anti-national elements, work in “mission mode,” and ensure quick responses in a coordinated manner to achieve this goal.

The 52-day pilgrimage will commence via the traditional 48-kilometer Nunwan-Pahalgam route in Anantnag and the 14-kilometer shorter but steeper Baltal route in Ganderbal on June 29.

“The first batch of pilgrims will be flagged off from Bhagwati Nagar on June 28, and the yatra will start in Kashmir the next day (June 29),” said an official.

The Lieutenant Governor had also performed the ‘Pratham Puja’ to mark the ceremonial commencement of the annual Shri Amarnath Yatra through video conferencing.

On the security front, a senior police official said, “This year, the administration and the security forces have made special arrangements for the smooth conduct of pilgrimage. A multi-layer security grid is in place for the peaceful Yatra.”

He stated that besides adequate deployment of troops all along the national highway, cave routes, and base camps, optimum use of technology is also being made to maintain surveillance.

Meanwhile, a three-tier security system has been put in place in and around the Amarnath base camp in Jammu, under the charge of the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s security wing.

Forces have carried out search and sanitization operations to ensure a safe commencement of the annual yatra from Jammu.

“Adequate security arrangements have been made for the yatra. Three-tier security measures have been put in place for the base camp in the Bhagwati Nagar area of Jammu,” said an official.

He said that lodgement and registration centers in Jammu City are also under strict security, adding that the road stretch leading to the cave shrine has been upgraded by the Border Roads Organization (BRO) to ensure hassle-free movement of pilgrims.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah had also reviewed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir on June 16, where Amarnath Security arrangements were also finalized.

Jammu region witnessed back-to-back terror strikes at four places in Reasi, Kathua, and Doda districts, where nine pilgrims and a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawan were killed and a civilian and at least seven security personnel were injured.

Jammu has remained largely free of militant activities in the past two decades when compared with the Kashmir Valley.

Since mid-2021, at least 26 major terror strikes have occurred in the Jammu region.

“Both routes are fully prepared as the pilgrims are scheduled to depart for Pahalgam and Baltal from Srinagar on June 29,” said an official.

He also added that the langar (community kitchen) organizations are actively preparing to support the yatra.

“Trucks carrying ration materials and essential supplies have already arrived. Sheds for langars have been erected along the routes, including in Baltal and Pahalgam, with 125 langar organizations participating this year,” he added.

The Civil Defense volunteers are also engaged to facilitate the pilgrims arriving in Jammu for the yatra, he added.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Traffic Police announced restrictions on traffic movement on Thursday, keeping in view the Amarnath Yatra.

As per the traffic police advisory, the restriction on vehicular movement has been decided by the administration to be imposed on different routes.

“In view of the forthcoming Shri Amar Nath Yatra 2024, the administration has decided to impose certain restrictions on traffic plying on different routes. These restrictions will be in force between June 28 and August 19,” the J&K Traffic Police said.

It added that the traffic department will also issue special advisories on a daily basis, which will carry the necessary details with dos and don’ts.

“People, including tourists and yatris, are requested to strictly abide by the instructions to avoid unnecessary inconvenience and plan their journey accordingly,” the J&K Traffic Police added.

However, the Jammu Tourism Department has also made arrangements for the pilgrims for ‘Jammu Darshan’ and sightseeing to make their visit memorable.


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