Ensure pilgrims embarking on Vaishno Devi yatra wear valid RFID card: CEO Shrine Board

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Exhorting for action on diverse fronts for hassle-free pilgrimage during the coming days, Chief Executive Officer, Anshul Garg on Saturday asked all the stakeholders to ensure that the pilgrims before embarking on the Yatra, wear their valid RFID card at all times as they are linked with various facilities during the yatra and no pilgrim shall be allowed to start the yatra without a valid RFID card.

Garg while presiding over a joint meeting at Spiritual Growth Centre, Katra with security agencies and local authorities for a comprehensive review of the preparations for the upcoming Navratra festival scheduled to start from October 15 till October 23, underscored that Navratras are inches closer and the Board is expecting heavy influx of the devotees at the Holy Shrine besides, at the base camp Katra, thus stressed on synergy between all stakeholders during the Navratras Festival.

He assessed security and operational preparedness of the Shrine area for hassle-free pilgrimage prior to the onset of Shardiya Navratra.

Laying focus on the smooth regulation of Yatra as per the directions of Chairman, SMVDSB, (Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha), the CEO said that apart from deployment of security personnel, CCTVs will be acting as watchdogs enroute Bhawan and Katra.

He further enjoined representatives of security agencies deployed at all entry points to remain more vigilant so that no pilgrim without frisking and registration enters the track for their pilgrimage.

He directed SDM, Katra upon verification and census of pony porters so as to check any suspicious element on the track by the concerned agencies and robust extensive checking at different places of Katra for overcharging of fare.

Furthermore, the Chief Executive Officer also reviewed in detail various components of the Disaster Management measures including fire fighting preparedness to ensure quick and most effective response from all stakeholders in wake of any emergent situation.

He directed that the SDRF personnel in sync with DMTF shall monitor the vulnerable places and jointly conduct simulating exercises to deal with crowd management well for effective Yatra management on ground.

Besides, directed the concerned quarters at Bhawan for regular announcements and monitoring of the beats by the joint teams of stakeholders as per practice in vogue for the decongestion of the crowd on the track with the identification of the holding areas.

A slew of directives were also issued by the Chair to the concerned quarters for movement of vehicles, sanitation and drinking water arrangements and illumination of dark spots at Katra town, besides, physical and systematic improvements wherever required after critical examination.

The chair taking a note of haphazard parking causing traffic bottlenecks especially during Navratras directed the concerned agencies to carry out a special drive and to tow away unauthorized vehicles in and around Katra town.

In the meeting, representatives of security agencies highlighted major challenges for the deployed security forces in coming days for managing the expected influx of pilgrims on Navratra.

The chair directed that drones shall be used for the real-time monitoring to keep an eye on each and every movement by the security agencies besides, deployment of additional forces in and around Katra and on the track enroute Bhawan to ensure foolproof security and effective Yatra management.

SSP Reasi and Commandant, CRPF presented a detailed security grid in place and discussed various security measures going to be placed during the Navratra at Katra and enroute to Holy Shrine, besides deployment of QRTs (quick response teams) and a multi-tier security grid comprising police, CRPF and other paramilitary forces.

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