Amarnath Yatra: Amit Shah takes stock of preparations, security

NEW DELHI: Home Minister Amit Shah today took a comprehensive review of the preparations being made for smooth conduct of the impending Amarnath pilgrimage in Jammu and Kashmir, a report read.

The 62-day annual pilgrimage to the 3,880-meter-high cave sanctuary of Amarnath in the south Kashmir Himalayas will start on July 1 and go until August 31.

Manoj Sinha, the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi, the Union Home Secretary, and Tapan Deka, the Director of the Intelligence Bureau, were among the top officials present at the meeting.

The home minister met with top Army, central government, and Jammu and Kashmir administration officials to discuss the preparations for the Amarnath pilgrimage. The minster  reviewed the strategies being developed to ensure the pilgrimage's absolute security.

The sources claim that there have been intelligence reports suggesting that terrorist organisations with a base in Pakistan may attempt to obstruct the pilgrimage. All parties involved in the pilgrimage have attended the conference, and all matters pertaining to the preparations for it have been discussed.

In 2022,  over 3.45 lakh people visited the holy cave and this year, the figure could go up to 5.00 lakh, it is expected.  The National Disaster Response Force has begun evaluating prime places for putting up pilgrim camps while keeping in mind any potential in order to prevent any occurrence keeping in mind any possible unforeseen natural disaster.

Helicopters from the Indian Air Force are expected to be deployed in the upper reaches of the sacred cave to conduct overhead sorties to look for glacial activity and the development of lakes that could result in flash floods downhill.

In 2022, such sorties were conducted only after the flash floods occurred in June, but this year, the exercise will be undertaken before the beginning of the pilgrimage and at continuous intervals during the 2-month yatra, the sources said.

A crew with experience in remote sensing, satellite, hydrology, and disaster response may carry out airborne surveys. Contingency precautions would be taken all along the pilgrimage path, especially in the regions close to the cave shrine, they added, as soon as a hazardous water build-up is noticed. The Border Roads Organisation has been tasked with clearing the snow by June 15 as a result of recent snow accumulation along both the Baltal and Pahalgam trails leading to the sacred cave.

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