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Around eight lakh pilgrims expected to visit Amarnath Shrine this year: Govt

Yatri Niwas’ built-in Ramban can accommodate 3,000 pilgrims. Need to highlight achievements of Centre, J&K admin. Yatris cover increased from Rs 3 to Rs 5 lakh. Yatra activities will get pan-India coverage.

Stating that Shri Amarnath Yatra for this year will be on a bigger scale than ever before, Union Secretary to Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), Government of India, Apurva Chand on Monday said that this year around 6-8 lakh pilgrims are expected to arrive in the valley for the holy pilgrimage.

The Union Secretary made these remarks during a media interaction at the media complex Directorate of Information & Public Relations (DIPR) at Polo View in Srinagar and was joined by the Jaideep Bhatnagar, Principal Director General Press Information Bureau, and other officials.

During the interaction, the I&B Secretary earlier in the day held a detailed meeting regarding the commencement of Amarnath Yatra with the Chief Secretary of J&K, Divisional Commissioners of Jammu and Kashmir regions, and the concerned Deputy Commissioners, where he was informed that around 6-8 lakh pilgrims are expected to arrive for pilgrimage at Amarnath Cave in Kashmir.

Amarnath Shrine

“This year’s Yatra will be twice the size than ever before, and we are expecting around 6 lakh to 8 lakh pilgrims to visit the holy cave Amarnath cave,” the secretary said.

Speaking about the security arrangements, Chandra said that the security measures are fool-proof and the security scenario in Kashmir could be gauged by the huge number of tourist arrivals here.

During the interaction, the additional CEO of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), Rahul Singh said that for the first time Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) based tracking and surveillance system will be incorporated for the pilgrims.

“Once the Yatris enter Jammu and Kashmir, this system will be activated. This is for their safety.”

He further revealed that the insurance cover for this year has also been increased from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh for pilgrims.

The additional CEO said a new ‘Yatri Niwas’ has been built in the Ramban district of the Jammu region which can accommodate 3,000 pilgrims.

Amarnath "Traveler"

Earlier, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B), Government of India, Apurva Chandra had convened a meeting in Srinagar today regarding wide publicity to be carried for the upcoming 43-day Shri Amarnathji Yatra, scheduled to start from June 30th.
Chief Secretary, Arun Kumar Mehta, and Nitishwar Kumar, CEO, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, Rohit Kansal, Principal Secretary, Government of J&K and senior officers from the central government – Joint Secretary Ministry of I&B, Vikram Sahay, Principal Director General (News), All India Radio N.V. Reddy, Director General, Doordarshan, Mayank Agrawal, Additional Director General, Press Information Bureau Srinagar, Rajinder Chaudhry, and other senior officials, were also present in the meeting.

During the meeting, Apurva Chandra said that publicity activities will be planned by different media units of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in conjecture with the J&K administration throughout the period of the pilgrimage.

He added that Amarnath Ji Yatra activities will be projected throughout the country and there will be a focus on the coverage of the tourism activities in the region as well.

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“There is a need to highlight the various achievements of the Centre and UT Administration with respect to developmental work done in J&K. We need to amplify such positive stories about the region throughout the country,” he said.

In the meeting, Chief Secretary Arun Kumar said that this year’s AmarnathJi Yatra will record the highest Yatris flow owing to better facilities and a seamless journey experience for Yatris.

“Amarnathji Yatra is a prime example of composite culture and fraternity which has been preserved since ages by the cordial working out of locals with Yatris,” he said.

He added that the administration has taken every measure to provide better facilities and roadside amenities to make the journey convenient and every effort will be made to make this year’s pilgrimage a successful one.

The Chief Secretary said that the development ecosystem of J&K is witnessing tremendous transformation over the past few years with the completion of around 51000 projects to date. He added that the physical verification and GI tagging of all works has been made possible to ensure that the works are being done on the ground without any kind of corruption or malpractice.

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Joint Secretary Ministry of I&B, Vikram Sahay instructed the media units to carry out wide publicity about the detailed procedures involved from registration to commencement and conclusion of the yatra.

He added that there is an absolute need to highlight the positive environment of J&K which will clear all doubts about the pilgrimage. This he said will invite more and more people from all across the country to become a part of this journey.

Deliberations were carried out to amplify the information around the yatra this year which will be useful for the prospective Yatrees by Principal Director General (News), All India Radio N.V. Reddy, Director General, Doordarshan, Mayank Agrawal. The heads of both the units assured that wide publicity will be carried out about the yatra. They emphasized that the media units will take initiatives to highlight the developmental work done in J&K at the national level and also in regional languages.

CEO, Amarnathji Shrine board, Nitishwar Kumar shared an overview of the preparedness for the yatra. “We are expecting a two-fold increase in yatra this year and similarly we have also done two-fold preparations to make it successful,” he said. He urged the media units to highlight the advisories for the Yatris from time to time and added that Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags will be used this year to keep a track of the location of the pilgrims. He also emphasized that misconceptions about the journey being a difficult one also need to be thwarted.

The senior I&B officials assured the UT administration that appropriate steps will be taken to plan the publicity activities and there will be a buzz about the Yatra this year.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal, Deputy Commissioner Anantnag, and senior officials of security and administration also participated in the meeting.

Inputs from PIB release.

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