Shrine board grapples with rush of unregistered pilgrims
The Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), which regulates the annual Amarnath pilgrimage in the Valley, is grappling with the huge rush of unregistered pilgrims once againindia Updated: Jul 01, 2013 21:08 IST
The Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), which regulates the annual Amarnath pilgrimage in the Valley, is grappling with the huge rush of unregistered pilgrims once again.
The unregistered and unscheduled pilgrims continued to pour in the Valley on Monday. The influx of such pilgrims has gone up despite the shrine board setting up 422 registration counters across the country against 174 last year.
"Besides, this year registration commenced three months before the start of the yatra," said Navin K Choudhary, chief executive officer of the SASB, in Srinagar.Last year, more than 100 pilgrims had died. Among the dead were several unregistered and unfit pilgrims. Around 2 lakh pilgrims were registered on-the-spot last year. The Supreme Court took strong note of the tardy arrangements and asked the board to streamline the pilgrimage.
Even as the SC admonished the board, unregistered pilgrims continue to haunt the shrine board. "In view of the significant number of unregistered pilgrims who have arrived ahead of their scheduled date of yatra this year, the divisional administration, Kashmir, in coordination with the shrine board, J&K Bank and directorate of tourism, Kashmir, have established seven counters each at Pantha Chowk, Srinagar, and Tourist Reception Centre (TRC), Nowgam, Srinagar, to facilitate registration," said Choudhary.
The board has also opened counters at four places in Jammu. "Pilgrims who have arrived in Jammu without having obtained valid registration should secure registration," said the shrine board CEO.
The board has been consistently making appeals to intending pilgrims to ensure formalities of registration, which include obtaining medical certificates.Choudhary, on Monday, again clarified that no pilgrim will be allowed to go beyond the Nunwan and Baltal base camps in south and north-eastern Kashmir routes.
The board has fixed a ceiling of 7,500 pilgrims a day on each of the two routes. The board, which has set up access control gates on the routes ahead of the base camps, had issued coloured permits for each day of the week to ensure smooth conduct of the pilgrimage.
"The importance of strictly enforcing the board's decision is all the more important in view of the recent Uttarakhand tragedy," said the CEO