Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014

Tough security measures in place for Amarnath pilgrimage

Unlike in 2013, the yatra permits for this year will be in different colours for each day and each route. (Reuters) Unlike in 2013, the yatra permits for this year will be in different colours for each day and each route. (Reuters)
Written by Arun Sharma | Jammu | Posted: January 23, 2014 5:03 pm

The yatra permits for Amarnath pilgrimage in South Kashmir Himalayas this year will have several security features like Ashoka pillars ‘water mark’ in the same manner as in Indian currency notes.

These security features are being added to the yatra permit registration forms to check their duplication by unscrupulous elements, said Chief Executive Officer of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), Navin K Choudhary. For this, Shri Amarnath Shrine Board has approached the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd (SPMCIL) – a Central Public Sector Undertaking under the Union Ministry of Finance, which is responsible for printing of currency notes, minting of coins, printing passports and stamp papers.

Pointing out that the design of new yatra permits has been approved by State Governor and SASB Chairman, M M Vohra, he said that these will also have a printed micro text line reading ‘Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board’ and its logo in the background relief tint which could be seen under a powerful magnifying glass. The SASB’s logo printed with fluorescent blue ink will be visible only under ultra violet light, Choudhary said, adding the printing has been done with chemically sensitive security ink.

The Board will incur an expenditure of nearly Rs 75 lakh on the printing and transportation of new yatra permit forms. With such high security features and printing method, it will be next to impossible to duplicate the 2014 Amarnath yatra permit form, he said.

Choudhary had contacted the SPMCIL following directions from State Governor for making the existing format of yatra permits pilfer proof in view of complaints during 2013 Amarnath yatra and even in the earlier years indicating duplication of these forms by unscrupulous elements. The yatra permits until last year used to be printed by banks which had been designated by the SASB to undertake registration of pilgrims.

Unlike in 2013, the yatra permits for this year will be in different colours for each day and each route. This will help the enforcement agencies at the access control gates to quickly identify the pilgrims who are not registered for a particular day, he added.

Meanwhile, the Governor has directed the CEO to ensure timely distribution of the yatra permit forms to all the designated 422 bank branches which will undertake registration of pilgrims from March 1. A 44-day long Amarnath pilgrimage this year is beginning on June 28 from both Pahalgam and Baltal routes.

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