Jammu, Jan 29: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam asked the police department to work in synergy with the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) for effective regulation of the pilgrimage to the cave shrine in the South Kashmir Himalayas this year.
The annual pilgrimage to the cave shrine, which is situated at an altitude of 3,888 m (12,756 ft), takes place in the months of July and August. Last year, it took place over 46 days from July 1 to August 15.
An official spokesman said on Wednesday that Chief Secretary Subrahmanyam on Tuesday evening chaired the 9th high-level committee meeting to review the arrangements being made for the pilgrimage for 2020.
With regard to the security arrangements, the Chief Secretary asked the police department to work in close coordination and synergy with the SASB for effective regulation of the yatra at access control gates at Domel and Chandanwari.
He also emphasized on strict enforcement of prescribed guidelines so as to allow access only to registered pilgrims and service providers.
Administrative secretaries concerned briefed the Chief Secretary about the status of works including improvement of critical stretches on existing tracks, the establishment of transit camps, setting up of shelter sheds, provision of environment friendly facilities for disposal of waste and steps taken to stabilize the hill slopes enroute the shrine.
The CS also reviewed the track improvement works on the Baltal and Chandanwari routes viz installation of railings, maintenance of footbridges and up-gradation of the road from Baltal to Domel. Steps were finalized for timely completion of these works, he said.
The Chief Secretary directed the concerned secretaries to monitor the activities pertaining to their departments so that all works are executed and arrangements put in place well before the commencement of the yatra.
Amarnath yatra pilgrims can take two routes including the traditional 36 kilometers journey via Pahalgam in Anantnag and the shorter 14-kilometer route via Baltal in Ganderbal.
In 2019, over 3 lakh pilgrims visited the Amarnath cave. The number was 2.85 lakh the previous year.