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Amarnath Yatra concludes peacefully

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This year’s annual Amarnath yatra concluded peacefully, around 3.65 yatris from all over the country performed darshan at the holy cave up in the mountains of south Kashmir.

Though the officials were expecting that this year more than seven to eight lakhs yatris will be visiting the cave. However due to flash floods that led to the death of 15 pilgrims and injuries to 55 yatris, the numbers remained low. However, officials say this number of pilgrims is highest in the last 5 years

J&K’s Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said that despite inclement weather conditions for 20 days out of 44 days, the overall Yatra remained satisfactory. If government figures are to be believed, in 2016, 220490 performed darshan. In 2017, the number was 260003, while in 2018 & 2019, 285006 and 343587 persons performed darshan at the holy cave. This year’s number is considered satisfactory as out of 44 days of yatra period, the weather remained erratic for 20 days.

The government even said that the survey showed a 93% satisfaction rating on various parameters, while 73 % of the Darshans performed in the first 20 days of Yatra.

Despite the heavy rains that triggered flash floods on July 8th. The government machinery swung into action and rescued thousands of yatris. Timely action by the various government agencies saved lives of many pilgrims and rescue and relief operation was carried 24×7 and within three to four days the yatra was again resumed that deserved accolades.

This year the carrying capacity of yatris was increased by 80 % as compared to previous years. Special arrangements were made across J&K to accommodate 1,25,000 Yatris in comparison to 70,000 Yatris earlier. A new Yatri Niwas at Chanderkote with 3600 capacity was opened for Yatris this year which proved to be a key facility in accommodating more yatris, even during inclement weather.

The introduction of RFID tracking of yatris proved very helpful in tracking of the yatris, especially during the time of disaster July 8 and many yatris could be traced using RFID technology. This year was the first time this technology was introduced.

On the administrative front there was 240 % increase in the number of Toilets and unprecedented Sanitation arrangements ensured litter free and Open Defecation free yatra. Moreover, 190% increase in number of Beds in Hospitals, additional 100 bedded medical facility developed at each of the Base Camps and 50 beds installed additionally on each axis, 85 % increase in number of Oxygen Booths, besides two DRDO hospitals one each at Baltal and Chandanwari had aptly catered to the health needs of the yatris as well as locals and other stakeholders and saved many precious lives.

However, the unprecedented security arrangements right from Jammu upto the cave ensured that this yatra remained incident free. And despite there being threats like past militants could target the pilgrims, however, introduction of fool proof security made this yatra successful.  The Amarnath yatra is very important for the people of J&K and yatris were welcomed by local Muslims and other stakeholders which is very appreciable. However, keeping in view the climate changes taking place rapidly in Himalayan zone, the shrine boards focus on the safety of pilgrims due to natural disasters and ensure the surge in the numbers doesn’t harm the fragile environment of the area so recommendations should be sought from experts.

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