Elaborate arrangements, with more improvement, are in place for the Amarnath Yatra, being held after a gap of two years.
The government officials are expecting six lakh to eight lakh pilgrims this time. Around three lakh of them have so far registered for the Yatra.
The pilgrimage will begin on June 30 simultaneously from both routes - Pahalgam and Baltal - and conclude on August 11. Months before the start of yatra, the government machinery had geared up to plan for a smooth and peaceful yatra.
Meetings were held at various levels to chalk out strategies to provide the best possible facilities to the Yatris particularly when extraordinary rush of pilgrims is expected this time.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha while chairing a high level meeting recently said that the government is committed to provide the best facilities for Yatris. He added that improvements have been made to the arrangements as compared to previous years.
While the government on its part is making efforts to provide best possible facilities, thousands of local labourers, ponywallas, and dandiwallas are also eagerly waiting to provide their services to pilgrims.
Their earning during yatra is important for their livelihood. They suffered badly during last two years as the pilgrimage could not be held due to COVID.
This year they are expecting to make up for the losses in view of the expected huge rush of Yatris. Government has set a target of utilising the services of 35,000 labourers this time for the pilgrims.
Five thousand additional ponies are also being pressed into service. Registration camps for labourers and ponywallas were held in the neighbouring villages. The government announced full year insurance cover of Rs five lakh for the ponies, to be used during Amarnath yatra.
Days before the yatra, most labourers leave their homes towards the yatra route and return only after the pilgrimage concludes.
It is not only the earning part for them but also the feeling that for last several generations they have been providing a helping hand to the pilgrims during the yatra.
They want to continue with same spirit and are ready to welcome the pilgrims this time also.