The annual Amarnath Yatra to the south Kashmir Himalayas will commence on July 1. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), which was held by Governor Satya Pal Malik, who also happens to be the chairperson of the board.
An official release by the committee said that based on the approach recommended by the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Committee, which was formed to advise the board on the duration and schedule of future yatras, it was decided that the pilgrimage will be held for 46 days and will begin on the auspicious day of Masik Shivratri, as per the Hindu calendar, and conclude on Shravan Purnima (Raksha Bandhan) on August 15.
The board also discussed at length on the number of yatris who would be allowed to register, both date and route-wise, for this year’s program. Keeping in mind the carrying capacity of the existing tracks and other available infrastructure in the Yatra area, the board decided that 7,500 tatris, per day for each of the two routes, excluding those who decide to travel by helicopters, would be allowed to secure the Advance Registration for the pilgrimage.
The committee also noted the steps taken by the CEO for registration of pilgrims through 440 designated branches of Punjab National Bank, Jammu and Kashmir Bank and YES Bank, located across 32 States and Union Territories, and directed him to take all the required steps to commence the Advance Registration of pilgrims with effect from April 1. The board approved the proposal for Online Registration of limited number of intending pilgrims per day on pilot basis which will be in addition to the existing modes of registration.
The board also decided that wide publicity must be given through electronic and print media, informing the intending yatris to timely secure the prescribed Compulsory Health Certificates issued by doctors/hospitals nominated by the state or UTs in which they reside and only thereafter proceed to seek Advance Registration from the nearest located designated Bank which would issue the pilgrim a Yatra Permit which shall be valid for the specified date and route.
The board also advised the CEO to appeal to all the potential pilgrims to consult their doctors before embarking on the pilgrimage. The CEO shall also widely publicize that no person below the age of 13 years and above the age of 75 years shall be permitted to undertake the pilgrimage.
The team directed the CEO to adopt timely steps for ensuring uninterrupted telecom connectivity in the Yatra area. Appreciating the important services rendered by the Langar Organizations, the board looked to their continued support last year.
It also directed the CEO to caution all potential pilgrims to particularly take into account the difficult climate and terrain in the high altitude region of the Yatra and prepare themselves fully before embarking on the pilgrimage. The board requested the intending pilgrims to make themselves physically fit for the arduous Yatra by taking regular walk and exercise. Like every year, an awareness campaign would be launched with the cooperation and support of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and all information relating to the Yatra will be placed on the board’s Website (www.Shriamarnathjishrine.com).
Noting the chairman’s direction for sustained efforts being made to further improve the facilities to be provided to the pilgrims this year, the board reviewed the Action Plan for this year, particularly the arrangements which are being made for providing medical care, sanitation facilities, installation of the railings at all vulnerable points along each of the two routes and measures taken to preserve the environment of the Yatra area by ensuring removal of garbage in a scientific and environment friendly manner.