First batch of Amarnath pilgrims to leave Jammu base camp today

Samaan Lateef

Srinagar, June 28

Amidst high security, J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha will flag off the first batch of Amarnath pilgrims from Bhagwati Nagar at 4 am on Wednesday. The 43-day yatra will officially begin on Thursday amid unprecedented security arrangements due to the increased threat from the militant groups. Anti-drone system has been deployed in different areas. After a two-year hiatus, the yatra is expected to be attended by eight lakh pilgrims.

Pilgrims at registration counters for the Amarnath Yatra in Jammu on Tuesday. PTI

Heightened security

  • 700 companies of CAPFs, BSF, CRPF, ITBP, etc., deployed along yatra routes.
  • 150 langar sites have been established by social, religious groups for pilgrims.

“All necessary facilities, including traffic management, health, communication and water are in place. We are aware of the high altitude-related issues. Oxygen cylinders, medical beds, emergency responders, doctors and nursing staff have been deployed in adequate numbers,” the L-G said.

Kashmir Divisional Commissioner PK Pole said the pilgrimage would provide a major boost to the J&K’s economy as the government expects Rs 2,000 crore to Rs 3,000 crore revenue.

Pole said the transit facility at Mir Bazar in Anantnag would accommodate 2,500 pilgrims at a time. Langar (community kitchen) has been set up at around 150 places by different organisations where the administration has decided to install CCTV cameras to ensure quality food.

The pilgrimage will take place from twin routes—48 km through Nunwan in Pahalgam and 14-km Baltal route in Ganderbal. The Nunwan camp usually attracts sadhus, who take the traditional Chandanwari route as they believe that Lord Shiva treaded the same path. Local residents, especially those associated with the tourism sector, remain upbeat ahead of the yatra. Organisers of community meals are busy packing goods and local ironsmiths have started firming horseshoes to ponies to be used by pilgrims.

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