Amarnath Yatra: 36 lodgment centres among several arrangements to coming up in J-K's Kathua

NewsDrum Desk
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Jammu, Jun 11 (PTI) With the annual Amarnath Yatra around the corner, several arrangements including round-the-clock yatri facilitation centre and lodgement centres will be set up for devotees in Kathua district, officials said on Tuesday.

The intending pilgrims, coming from different parts of the country for the yatra, would be welcomed with a cultural programme, which will continue throughout the yatra period to entertain the devotees, they said.

The 52-day pilgrimage 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 3,880-metre-high holy cave shrine of Amarnath houses the naturally formed ice-shivlingam.

Over 4.5 lakh pilgrims visited the shrine last year.

The officials said Kathua Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Minhas chaired a meeting of stakeholder departments in the district to review the arrangements being put in place for smooth conduct of the Yatra.

Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ranjit Singh was designated as overall nodal officer for the yatra, while Deputy Commissioner State Taxes, Pardeep Manhas was named nodal officer for Lakhanpur facilitation centre, they said.

Minhas, reviewing the status of arrangements, instructed the concerned departments to complete the pending work well before the commencement of the yatra, considering the expected increase in the number of pilgrims.

A round-the-clock yatri facilitation centre, a dozen Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) counters and 36 lodgment centres would be set up in the district, the officials said.

The district administration will prepare a contingency plan to accommodate 12,500 pilgrims in case the yatra is halted due to inclement weather or any other emergencies, for which 36 lodgement centres would be established, the officials said.

To ensure smooth issuance of RFID tags to registered pilgrims, they said the district administration has decided to increase the number of counters at the Lakhanpur facilitation centre from six to 12, reducing congestion at the Jammu base camp.

The meeting also discussed in detail the facilities at lodgment centres, setting up a control room, disaster planning, monitoring the quality of food and eatables, maintaining proper sanitation along the yatra route, and enforcing anti-polythene measures, the officials said. PTI TAS NB