Srinagar: To avoid any weather related inconvenience to Amarnath yatris, a powerful Weather Doppler Radar is being established at Banihal top, besides installations of hi-tech equipment at various points along the routes to the cave shrine.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) for the comfort of the yatris would also release regular weather bulletins from time to time.
The annual Amarnath Yatra often gets stalled due to heavy rainfall, as the yatris cannot move towards the cave shrine in inclement weather.
“A powerful Weather Doppler Radar is being installed at Banihal Top and will surely be operational before the start of the yatra,” a senior IMD official told Greater Kashmir.
He said that the radar would cover the entire Pir Panchal range and the weather activity in Kashmir.
“That will cover whole yatra areas,” the senior IMD official said.
He said that a hi-tech weather system was being put in place for the annual yatra that is scheduled from July 1.
“More equipment is being installed in addition to the Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) that are being set up every year at Chandanwari, Sheshnag, Panjtarni, the Amarnath cave shrine and Baltal during the yatra period,” he said.
Further, in case of erratic weather, IMD has planned to pass information in advance to the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) authorities so that they could take timely decisions to stop the movement of yatris if that becomes necessary.
The IMD would release the first update for the yatris at 4 am and in case of erratic weather conditions, the SASB and other officials involved in the conduct of the yatra would be informed at least three hours in advance.
“Early in the morning, weather related SMS would be circulated among all officers connected with the yatra arrangements, informing them about sector-wise weather forecasts, like in Jammu-Banihal sector or Banihal-Srinagar sector,” the IMD officer said. “These officers will ensure that all yatris undertake yatra under safe weather conditions.”
The Amarnath Yatra attracts lakhs of yatris every year who visit the Amarnath cave shrine during July-August.
The Amarnath cave shrine is at a height of 13,000 feet above the sea level.
According to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) standards for hydro-meteorological purposes, one weather station is recommended for an area of 100 sq km in topographically complex mountainous regions like the Himalayas.
Last year on July 8, flash flood triggered by heavy rains near the cave shrine resulted in the death of 15 yatris.
The flash floods also left about 55 people injured and washed away a few tents and community kitchen stalls near the cave shrine, following which rescue operations continued for six days.