Jammu, March 13: Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, Chairman, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), presided over the 40th Board Meeting held here today at Raj Bhavan.
Those present at the meeting included BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Atal Dulloo, Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education Department and Members of the Board including: Swami Avdheshanand Giri Ji Maharaj; Shri D.C. Raina; Pt. Bhajan Sopori; Prof. Anita Billawaria; Dr. Sudershan Kumar; Dr. C.M. Seth; Mrs. Tripta Dhawan; Prof. Vishwamurti Shastri and Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty.
Nitishwar Kumar, Chief Executive Officer SASB; Sh. Pandurang K. Pole, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir; Sh. Anup Kumar Soni, Additional Chief Executive Officer SASB; and other senior officers of the Shrine Board also attended the meeting in person and through virtual mode.
Regarding the duration and date of commencement of the Yatra 2021, the Board, keeping in view the foremost concern of the safety and security of the pilgrims, decided that a 56-days Yatra would commence on 28th June, 2021, on auspicious day of Ashaad Chaturthi as per Hindu Calendar, and conclude on Shravan Purnima (Raksha Bandhan) on 22nd August, 2021.
The Board was also informed that this year’s Yatra will be held as per COVID-19 SOPs developed by the government.
Advance registration of pilgrims will commence from 1st April 2021 through 446 designated branches of Punjab National Bank, Jammu and Kashmir Bank and YES Bank, located in 37 States and UTs.
The Board will also enable the live telecast of morning and evening Aarti for devotees across the globe. The live telecast is a tool for virtual Darshan for those who are unable to undertake the arduous Yatra. Further, the pilgrims can download the “Shri Amarnathji Yatra” App available on the Google play store to get real time information about the Yatra and for availing several services online.
Today’s meeting saw some major decisions taken to facilitate the pilgrims and other stakeholders for the smooth conduct of the Yatra. The Board deliberated at length on the number of Yatris who would be allowed to register, date-wise and route-wise, for this year’s Yatra. Considering the carrying capacity of the existing tracks and other available infrastructure in the Yatra area, the Board decided to enhance the daily route-wise Yatri ceiling from 7500/Day/Route to 10,000/Day/Route, excluding Yatris who would travel by helicopters, would be allowed to secure Advance Registration for the pilgrimage.
The Lt Governor also directed for issuance of Special invitations to Akhada Parishads, Acharya Parishads and exploring possibility of establishing counters at prominent religious places across the country for facilitation of Sadhu/Sant Samaj.
Laying special emphasis on providing best-in-class healthcare facilities to all the visiting devotees and service providers, the Lt Governor directed the concerned officers to upgrade the present healthcare facilities on both yatra routes with latest equipments and augment strength of the medical staff to handle emergency cases.
On strengthening the communication channel, the Lt Governor directed for making the telecom services operational two weeks prior to the commencing of yatra at the Holy Cave and across the yatra routes.
It was further directed to upgrade the sanitation capacity commensurate with the enhanced yatra volume for base camp and along the routes.
During the meeting, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board approved the enhancement of remunerations for Pujaris from existing Rs 1000 per day to Rs 1500 per day for the next three years.
Further, as directed by the Lt Governor in the January 5, 2021 preparatory meeting, the Group accidental insurance cover for Yatris, Service Providers was also enhanced from Rs. 3 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh and for Ponies from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000.
Discussion was also held on introducing RFID Tracking and Prepaid hiring of Services for putting in place for strengthened online digital system.
The Board further directed for wide publicity to be given through the electronic and print media, informing the intending Yatris to timely secure the prescribed Compulsory Health Certificates issued by the Doctors/ Hospitals nominated by the State or UTs in which they reside and only thereafter proceed to seek Advance Registration from the nearest located designated Bank which would issue the pilgrim a Yatra Permit which shall be valid for the specified date and route.
The Board also advised the CEO to appeal to all the potential pilgrims to consult their doctors before embarking on the pilgrimage. The CEO shall also widely publicize that no person below the age of 13 years and above the age of 75 years shall be permitted to undertake the pilgrimage.
Appreciating the important services rendered by the Langar Organizations, the Board looked to their continued support during Yatra 2021.
As in the past, the awareness campaign would be launched with the cooperation and support of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and all information relating to Yatra will be placed on the Board’s Website (www.Shriamarnathjishrine.com).
CEO, SASB also apprised the Board about the other initiatives being taken by the Board for facilitating the Yatris including introduction of free of cost Battery Car service for the first time for 2.75 kms long Baltal to Domel stretch and vice versa. Further, the Board is issuing silver coins of 5 gm and 10 gm denomination through the Metal and Mineral Trading Corporation (MMTC). These coins would be sold to the pilgrims at the Holy Cave and at the offices of the Shrine Board during the Yatra.