First batch of 2 month long yatra to leave on June 27

Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, June 24: All arrangements are in place for the two month- long annual holy Amarnath yatra beginning from June 28 with clearance of snow on both tracks of Baltal and Pahalgam which have been made through for the pilgrims. The first batch of yatris from Jammu will leave for yatra on June 27.
According to official sources, over two lakh pilgrims have been registered in hundreds of bank branches all over the country so far.  Out of this, the J&K  Bank has registered 78,809 pilgrims in its 89 branches. Besides, the fool proof security measures in the Government and Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) has given final shape to all boarding and lodging arrangements for the pilgrims.
The two month -long holy Amarnath yatra will culminate on Sawan Purnima coinciding with Raksha Bandan on August 26.
Official sources said fool proof security arrangements have been made right from Lakhanpur in Kathua district to holy cave besides, the boarding and lodging arrangements for the pilgrims are also in place enroute to cave shrine right from Kathua.
Sources said that control rooms have been set up along both the tracks and the camp directors along with the staff have reported at their respective places of posting with establishments of transit camps at various places on both the tracks right from Nunwan and Baltal top holy cave. The senior officers of district administration, police,  Shrine Board as well as the security forces are overseeing the arrangements on both the tracks, sources added.
The staff deployed for the yatra duty has reported at their respective places and there was three tire security arrangements including Army, BSF,  CRPF  and the JK Police, sources said.
Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag, Mohammed Younis Malik who is also the Yatra Officer told Excelsior that he has personally monitored the arrangements right from Mirbazar in Anantnag to holy cave and every thing is in place. The langars have been                 established enroute, besides the elaborate arrangements of ration, cooking gas, kerosene oil, fire wood, medicare by establishing dispensaries and health centers etc have been made with deployment of staff and contingents of police and security forces on entire track.
To ensure security and safety of pilgrims, this time the Government has made extra security arrangements for them by installing radio electronic tracking system.
According to Inspector General Police, Jammu, S D Singh besides the usual security arrangements for the pilgrims, this time radio electronic tracking system has been installed.
Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Rajiv Ranjan  said that all arrangements for boarding and lodging in Winter Capital have been made and nine langars have been installed at various places for the pilgrims.
He said three registration centers have been opened for pilgrims at Saraswati and Vaishnavi Dham at Railway Station and pilgrims will leave for holy cave here at 4 am and 5 am respectively. There will be one hour gap for the pilgrims leaving via Pahalgam and Baltal tracks from Jammu, he added.
He said besides, the Yatri Niwas at Bhagwati Nagar various Sabhas have been booked for the pilgrims boarding and lodging in Jammu which included Aggarwal Sabha, Mahajan Sabha, Geeta Bhawan etc.
He said a booklet has been published by the Government providing detailed information about the yatra, etc to the pilgrims. Besides, the X Ray machines have also been installed for security check etc, he added.
The DC said to avert the overcharging by auto operators etc, 24×7 emergency operation centers have been established by the administration.  In addition to it, the Tourism Department has also made elaborate arrangements for the yatris and Hoteliers have also announced to provide 35 percent concessions to Amarnath pilgrims this time, he added.
To provide better facility to pilgrims, the second floor of the Yatri Niwas at Bhagwati Nagar as well as half portion of its first floor has been made fully air conditioned. Like the yesteryears a free langar has also been installed inside the Yatri Niwas. In addition to it the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC) has installed a counter for the pilgrims in which the goods of their necessity will be sold at reasonable rates.
This was stated by Director Tourism Jammu Sumita Sethi. She said the bedding will also be available at Yatri Niwas for pilgrims at reasonable rates and for the surveillance the CCTVs have been installed. The CCTVs have also been installed at yatra counters.
Sethi said the yatris will be provided with locker facility and a booking ticket counter has also been opened inside the Yatri Niwas. A BSNL Counter and a shop selling rain coats and other necessary items habe been opened there, she added.
She said this year also the buses will be made available for pilgrims intending to go for Jammu darshan.