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    JammuToken Distribution Begins for Amarnath Pilgrims in Jammu

    Token Distribution Begins for Amarnath Pilgrims in Jammu


    SRINAGAR, June 26: The token distribution for offline registration of the Amarnath pilgrims started here on Wednesday, as the authorities successfully conducted dry run of vehicles along the -Srinagar highway ahead of the start of the annual pilgrimage later this week, officials said.

    The 52-day pilgrimage to the 3,880 meter high holy cave shrine of Amarnath will commence from the twin tracks –traditional 48 km Nunwan-Pahalgam route in Anantnag and 14-km shorter but steep Baltal route in Ganderbal — on June 29.
    The first batch of pilgrims will leave Bhagwati Nagar base camp in  Jammu for the valley on June 28. Over 4.5 lakh pilgrims had paid their obeisance at the naturally formed ice-shivlingam inside the cave shrine in Himalayas last year.
    Deputy Commissioner, Ramban, Baseer-ul-Haq Chaudhary, said the dry run led by Divisional Commissioner,  Jammu, Ramesh Kumar, and Additional Director General of Police, Jammu, Anand Jain, was conducted successfully from Bhagwati Nagar base camp to Banihal.
    “The main purpose of the dry run was to assess any shortcoming in security parameters, logistic and other arrangements for the pilgrims enroute to ensure their smooth yatra,” Chaudhary said.
    He said the riding surface along the highway, especially between Nashri and Banihal, was macadamized over the past weeks to make the journey of the commuters safe and easy.
    “The travel time between Nashri and Banihal was reduced to one hour from three hours earlier due to poor condition of the road,” the deputy commissioner said.
    Chaudhary said the intake capacity of the Yatri Niwas at Chanderkote and Banihal was enhanced to 6000, while there is also a provision to temporarily accommodate 25,000 people and provide them food and shelter in case of a landslide.
    As many as 20 langers (community kitchens) have been set up to facilitate the pilgrims, he said.
    Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ramban, Anuj Kumar, said foolproof security arrangements are in place in the district with a joint control room to monitor the movement of pilgrim vehicles through 44 CCTV cameras.
    The officials working in the emergency departments are also part of this joint control room to ensure swift response to any situation, he said.
    The officials said the divisional Commissioner and the ADGP visited various halting stations in both Udhampur and Ramban to review the arrangements.
    They also witnessed a mock drill by the police commandos in Banihal, the officials said.
    In  Jammu, hundreds of enthusiastic pilgrims coming from outside  Jammu and Kashmir waited for hours to get their tokens for offline Amarnath registration scheduled to start at three counters on Friday.
    The token distribution centre at Saraswati Dham near the Jammu Railway station was set up by the district administration for the pilgrims who want to register for the yatra in offline mode, the officials said.
    “Three registration centres – Vaishnavi Dham, Panchayat Bhawan and Mahajan Hall – will start functioning in Jammu for offline registration from tomorrow. Only those pilgrims having tokens issued by Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board will be entertained at the registration centres,” said Sub-Divisional Magistrate Manu Hansa.
    He said the shrine board had given them 2000 tokens for the twin tracks for tomorrow.
    “A total of 12 counters, six each for Pahalgam and Baltal axis with separate waiting halls, will be available for the pilgrims for registration. Separate inquiry counters will be available at all the three registration centres for the assistance of the pilgrims,” said Hansa, who was given the additional charge of yatra management.
    He appealed to the pilgrims to maintain peace and wait for their turn. The centres will open at 6 am daily till the daily quota is exhausted.
    “We are satisfied with the arrangements made by the J&K administration for the pilgrims. This is my first yatra and I will seek the blessings of the Lord for the people and my country,” said Vishal, a resident of Rajasthan.
    Govind Kumar from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh said barring the Corona period, he has been a regular visitor to the Amarnath cave shrine since 2010.
    “I have always seen the government making the yatra a better experience for the pilgrims with each passing year,” he said.
    Rakhi Jain, who has come from Indore, said she was planning to perform the yatra for the last five years but “today, I got an opportunity and I am very happy about this”. Jain said that she had reached the token counter at 3 am.
    Welcoming the yatris, Additional District Magistrate,  Jammu, Shishir Gupta, said the pilgrims should reach the Bhagwati Nagar only one day in advance before their scheduled departure.
    “Anyone coming earlier can avail the facility at 25 other locations kept ready by the administration,” said Gupta, the nodal officer for the yatra.
    He said medical certificates can be availed at three local hospitals, while the pilgrims with more than 70 years of age, children below 13 years and women with over six-weeks pregnancy will not be allowed to undertake the yatra.

    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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