First time Satellite tracking of pilgrims

SRINAGAR: After several decades, Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) has introduced satellite tracking for the Amarnath pilgrims to ensure their safety and security while as all the 300 companies that were earlier brought in for the smooth polls, have been deployed for the safe pilgrimage, top officials informed.
They said that satellite tracking has been introduced for the first time in the wake of possible bids by the militants to attack Yatris or to disturb the pilgrimage. “Yes, we have introduced satellite tracking through different radars installed at various places including en-route cave shrine of Amarnath,” a senior official at the SASB wishing not to be named said.
He added that it was for the first time after several decades that the SASB through a proper management system and thorough consultations with the experts decided to go for satellite based tracking to ensure pilgrim movement of every batch of devotees is monitored properly.
“The monitoring is must to ensure that pilgrimage was going on smoothly. It is to make sure that a pilgrimage caught in any trouble or stuck anywhere en-route the cave-shrine of Amarnath Shrine,” the official said.
As far the security measures, he said that the 300 companies that were earlier deployed across Kashmir for the smooth conduct of Parliamentary polls have been deployed for the Yatra duty as well.
“At least 160 companies of additional forces remain deployed in sensitive South Kashmir districts especially Anantnag district where the cave-shrine is located in the mountain range of Himalayas,” the official said.

He said this time elaborate security arrangements are in place, rather more concrete steps have been taken to ensure incident free Yatra in the wake of major attacks by militants on June 12 in Anantnag district that left five CRPF men and a police officer dead. The attack was followed by IED attack on the army vehicle that saw two soldiers’ dead.
This time, the official said that primary focus will remain on the movement of vehicles ferrying pilgrims to two base camps Chandanwari in Pahalgam and Baltal at Sonamarg.
“Complete monitoring of pilgrim vehicles will be ensured and no vehicle will be allowed to proceed from stop-point after cut-off timing,” the officer said. A booklet, according to the official, has also been distributed to the pilgrims and will be distributed to each batch, so that they follow safety tips.