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Amid tight security, first batch of Amarnath yatra to leave Jammu on Friday

The 52-day pilgrimage will commence from the twin tracks -- the traditional 48-km Nunwan-Pahalgam route in Anantnag and the 14-km shorter but steep Baltal route in Ganderbal -- on June 29.
Last Updated : 27 June 2024, 16:07 IST

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Jammu: Amid multi-tier security escort, the first batch of Amarnath pilgrims will depart for twin base camps in Kashmir from Jammu on Friday, marking the beginning of this year's pilgrimage from here.

The comprehensive arrangements, including three-tier security, area dominations, elaborate route deployment and checkpoints have been put in place for a smooth yatra.

The 52-day pilgrimage will commence from the twin tracks -- the traditional 48-km Nunwan-Pahalgam route in Anantnag and the 14-km shorter but steep Baltal route in Ganderbal -- on June 29. The yatra will conclude on August 19.

"The first batch of the yatra will leave Jammu base camp at Bhagwati Nagar for Kashmir at 0400 hours in the morning of Friday," a senior officer told PTI.

He said the yatra will be flagged off by Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha from Yatri Niwas amid high security arrangements.

"Traffic restrictions will be imposed on various routes from June 28 to August 19, with daily advisories issued to minimise inconvenience," he said, adding that cut-off timings have been fixed for each sector on the highway, which is monitored through CCTV surveillance.

For this, over 3,000 tokens have been handed over to the devotees travelling in the first batch for twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal in the Kashmir valley, the officials said.

Over 2,000 pilgrims have arrived at the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in Jammu, from where they will leave in escorted convoys for the base camps in north Kashmir's Baltal and south Kashmir's Anantnag, the officials said.

There is a huge rush of devotees arriving at the base camp, they added.

According to reports, over 3.50 lakh yatris have registered for this year's yatra. There are 125 community kitchens (langars) set up along the two routes to the cave shrine and supported by over 6,000 volunteers.

The administration on Thursday began the process for on-the-spot registration of devotees arriving here for the pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine.

The Lieutenant Governor, who is the chairman of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), reviewed the security and other arrangements in a high-level meeting and grassroot visits to various base camps in J&K.

Top officials led by Chief Secretary Atal Dulloo also visited the base camps and emphasised ensuring seamless facilities and services to the pilgrims, monitoring the control room 24×7 and publicising transport rates for taxis and three-wheelers.

The LG and the CS stressed the importance of an incident-free yatra, urging the officials to maintain vigilance against anti-national elements and ensure coordinated responses.

Jammu has come under a security blanket with enhanced security measures, including a multi-layer security grid and the use of technology for surveillance.

A three-tier security system has been implemented around the Jammu base camp, with search and sanitisation operations being conducted to ensure safety, the officials said.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah reviewed the security situation and arrangements for the Amarnath yatra on June 16 in the light of recent terror strikes in the Jammu region. PTI AB 5/25/2024 KSS KSS

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Published 27 June 2024, 16:07 IST

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