Mega preparations as Amarnath Yatra begins tomorrow

Five-tier security cover has been put in place for the Amarnathyatra in Kashmir, that entails satellite and chip-based tracking of vehicles. The Yatra will officially commence on July 1.

The security top brass has ensured deployment of forces in various layers while as pilgrims will be provided with wrist bands fitted with micro-chips.

Top security officials told Greater Kashmir that primary focus will remain on highways—Srinagar-Jammu and Srinagar-Ganderbal to ensure smooth flow of vehicles ferrying pilgrims.

“The pilgrim vehicles will be fitted with a RIFD chips that will remain under the radars connected with respective control rooms. No vehicle carrying pilgrims will be allowed to cross a particular point after a cut-off timing,” a senior official, privy to the security plan for Amarnath pilgrimage revealed. “At the registration counters, every devotee will be provided with a wrist band with a micro-chip connected with the satellite towers installed at various locations. The movement of both, devotees as well as vehicles ferrying them, will remain under constant watch at the respective control rooms with the help of satellite, GPRS, micro-chips and RFID chips.”

He said it was for the first time that the five-tier security cover will remain in place for the pilgrimage. “All the 300 additional companies of security forces that were deployed for the peaceful conduct of Parliament polls in Kashmir, were retained, and have been deployed for the incident free pilgrimage,” he said. Explaining the five-tier security plan, he said deployment will remain on highways, sensitive areas in districts, Quick Reaction Teams (of police and CRPF), Mobile Vehicle Check Posts (MVCPs), and technical monitoring. Besides, he said 200 CCTV vehicles have been installed at the base camps and vulnerable slots identified by the security agencies that includes “some spots on highways.”

Talking to Greater Kashmir, inspector general of CRPF Ravideep Singh Sahi said that extra measures have been taken to prevent any untoward incident during the pilgrimage period—July 1 to August 15. “More focus will remain on highways and sensitive areas which have been taken care of,” he said.

The more elaborate measures for annual pilgrimage have been taken after the direction passed by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who had asked the security agencies to “further tighten the security for the Yatra.”

Shah was in Kashmir for two days from June 26 and chaired a series of security review meetings. A police official said that barricades will be erected on the highways soon after the cut-off timing for the movement of security forces convoys and pilgrims. “Erecting barricades at various points is part of the security plan this year,” the official said.

A source in the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), the managing body for the AmarnathYatra, said that at least 400 CCTVs have been installed at vulnerable points and also at the both base camps—Chandanwari in Pahalgam area of Anantnag district and also at Baltal in Ganderbal district. “Pilgrims will be provided with wrist bands fitted with micro-chips at the registration counters to ensure the monitoring of their movement. Similarly, the pilgrim vehicles will also be fitted with chips to keep a close track on them,” he said. The first batch of pilgrims will leave from Jammu to Srinagar on Sunday and the annual pilgrimage will officially commence on July 1 from both base camps in Kashmir.