Amid rising Covid cases, Amarnath Yatra begins under tight security

Amid rising Covid cases, Amarnath Yatra begins under tight security

Srinagar: There has been rising Covid-19 cases in the Kashmir valley in the past one week, adding to the challenges of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra for the administration.
After three years, the annual Amarnath Yatra has started from the twin routes of Pahalgam and Sonmarg amid tight security. The Central government has taken unprecedented security measures, including drones, radio frequency identification (RFID) and hundreds of CCTVs put in place by the security agencies, to ensure the safety of the yatris. Apart from such security cover, 300 additional paramilitary companies have been brought to Kashmir valley for special Amarnath Yatra duties. At most of the key points, sharp shooters have been deployed after intelligence reports that the Yatra could be attacked, especially from the Baltal route of Sonmarg. Apart from the security worries for the Yatra, the J&K administration is also worried about the rising Covid-19 cases in the Kashmir valley. According to a senior health department official, due to the rising Covid-19 cases, very soon guidelines would be issued for the devotees too. Director Health Kashmir, Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Rather, told media persons that they were ready to meet any challenge and have kept ready two dedicated 70-bed hospitals both at Baltal and Pahalgam for the yatris. He said enough oxygen supplies have been kept ready along with a moveable emergency system in case of any emerging situation during the Yatra. Earlier, the J&K Health Department had deployed 1,500 staff members who are working in shifts to take care of the sick and ailing yatris during the current ongoing Yatra.

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has directed his administration to ensure the success of the Amarnath Yatra and provide all facilities, especially health facilities, to the yatris. The J&K administration has kept 70 health facilities and 100 ambulances available for the yatris from the Jawahar Tunnel up to the holy cave of Amarnath from both the routes of Sonmarg and Pahalgam. Due to the threat of rising Covid cases, the J&K administration has kept ready additional beds along with 26 oxygen booths so that they can provide such facilities, if the need arises. Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha is monitoring the Amarnath Yatra and is in touch with the entire security grid for the safety of the devotees.The annual Amarnath Yatra of 43 days started on 30 June and will conclude on 11 August 2022. The government is expecting more than 8 lakh yatris to visit the holy shrine during these 43 days.

Sunday Guardian

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