SMVDSB reviews Yatra preparedness ahead of New-Year

SMVDSB Member Suresh Kumar Sharma along with officers of the Board and security agencies during Yatra review meeting.
SMVDSB Member Suresh Kumar Sharma along with officers of the Board and security agencies during Yatra review meeting.

Excelsior Correspondent

KATRA, Dec 23: Member of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) Suresh Kumar Sharma (retired Judge) today held a meeting with cadre of SMVDSB and security agencies to review risk management strategies and to determine the broad approach regarding preparedness for safe pilgrimage prior to onset of New Year.
At the outset, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) SMVDSB Anshul Garg briefed about various measures in place and proactive steps taken for smooth regulation of expected influx of pilgrims likely to visit in large number from various parts of the country and abroad to abode of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi on the onset of New Year which includes issuance of RFID cards, effective crowd management, working out plans for decongestion of the entire track, particularly the Bhawan area, separation of entry, exit routes at Bhawan and surveillance through network of over 500 CCTV cameras.
The CEO said that the Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) based Yatra registration cards have been started with the focus to enhance not only the security but also ensure real time tracking of pilgrims on the track enroute Bhawan for better regulation of the pilgrims in accordance with the holding capacity of the trek and the shrine area (Bhawan).
He further emphasized the security agencies not to allow any pilgrim without a valid RFID card for which additional hand held scanners may be put to use with sufficient staff to plug any shortfall. “If any pilgrim is found without RFID cards, he will not be allowed for the pilgrimage,” Garg said and underscored that those pilgrims registered under RFID not returning their card after completion of Yatra shall be charged a fine of Rs 100 as deterrence.
He also discussed the concern about surge in COVID cases and informed that all the stakeholders have been advised to wear masks while dealing with the yatris. He also informed that the Shrine Board has made wearing of face masks mandatory for every pilgrim attending the Atka Arti and in the darshan queue.
Suresh Kumar Sharma, while reviewing the various mitigation measures in place, emphasized coordinated efforts amongst all stakeholders for working on strategies for risk aversion and identifies the congestion and crowd holding spots for better crowd management before the onset of New Year.
In the meeting, P S Ranpise (IG CRPF) briefed the meeting that additional forces as per request shall be deployed in and around Katra and on the track enroute Bhawan in coordination with other security agencies to ensure fool-proof security and effective Yatra management.
Others present in the meeting were Manoj Kumar (DIG CRPF), Navneet Singh (Additional CEO SMVDSB), Amit Basin (SP Katra), Chander Parkash (Joint CEO SMVDSB), Yad Ram Bunker (Commandant CRPF) and Vipan Bhagat (Assistant CEO SMVDSB).