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Amarnath Yatra to resume after a three-year gap


SRINAGAR: The Sri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) is endeavouring to make sure that the pilgrimage to the holy cave temple where the naturally formed ice lingam is located in the south Kashmir Himalayas, goes without a hitch. The pilgrimage to the shrine is to begin on June 30, 2022.

A senior official said the Jammu and Kashmir government is also stepping up efforts to help the Shrine Board by providing foolproof security cover on the Pahalgam and Baltal routes to the holy cave.

The board has also made arrangements for online darshan for those who are physically unable to travel, in addition to making provisions for pilgrims who intend to make the pilgrimage.

"For the devotees who can not come for the Yatra, they can avail facility of online darshan, pooja, havan and prasad," an official of the SASB said.

A 70-bed DRDO hospital has been set up at Baltal base camp to provide quality health services to the pilgrims.

The hospital is funded by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The fully equipped hospital will have X-ray and ultrasound facilities, general and oxygen wards, OPD, ICU, pharmacy and laboratory.

The Union territory's health department has also made special arrangements to provide health care facilities to the pilgrims.

109 Basic Life Support ambulances and 26 Advance Life Support critical care Ambulances have been deployed at 55 places along the Baltal and Chandanwari routes from Qazigund for pilgrims.

During a recent visit to the twin base camps, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said this year special emphasis is on cleanliness and the board aims for a "Swachh Amarnath Yatra".

"We have made provision of toilets all along the routes. We are very serious about the overall cleanliness. Swachh Bharat is not just a slogan but a commitment announced by the Prime Minister," he said.

The security along both the Baltal and Pahalgam routes has been strengthened with new security pickets being established to ensure that the subversive elements are not able to disrupt the pilgrimage, the official said.

To ensure only bona-fide pilgrims are present at the yatra, the SASB has asked all intending pilgrims to carry Aadhar cards or any other biometric verified document with them.

The pilgrimage will begin on June 30 and end on August 11 coinciding with Raksha Bandhan. As the journey resumes after a gap of three years, it is expected that the number of pilgrims will be higher than usual this year.

The Amarnath Yatra did not take place for the last three years. It was cancelled halfway in 2019 due to the Centre's plan to repeal Article 370, and was suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

With PTI inputs

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