Jammu: The first batch of over 3,000 pilgrims on Thursday left for the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas from Jammu amidst tight security, an official said.
    
The batch comprising 3,157 yatris, including 563 women and 37 children, was flagged off by state Tourism Minister GA Mir at Jammu base camp, he said.
    
The batch left from Yatri Niwas in a fleet of 96 vehicles, including 75 buses and 21 LMVs at around 5:45 am on Thursday amid tight security and in the presence of several civil and police officials.
    
As per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) only 15,000 yatris will be allowed to move towards the Amarnath cave shrine everyday - 7,500 from Phelgam and an equal number from Baltal.
    
Keeping in view the huge influx of unregistered devotees visiting the state, civil administration has set-up spot registration counters at different places.
    
"However, the spot-registration will be subject to the availability, as only 15,000 yatris will be allowed for the pilgrimage every day," a tourism official said.

Meanwhile, elaborate security arrangements have been made for the safe passage of the yatra, with sufficient security personnel being deployed en route, to foil any evil designs of militants, a senior police official said.
    
The vehicles coming in to the state are being checked at Lakhanpur border and are issued a 'Traffic Check Sticker', besides a high-level surveillance is being done with police forces checking the vehicles at different spots across the city, he said.
    
However, the vehicles with the 'Traffic Check Sticker' are not re-checked en route their destination.

Meanwhile, elaborate security arrangements have been made for the safe passage of the yatra, with sufficient security personnel being deployed en route, to foil any evil designs of militants, a senior police official said.
    
The vehicles coming in to the state are being checked at Lakhanpur border and are issued a 'Traffic Check Sticker' besides a high-level surveillance is being done with police forces checking the vehicles at different spots across the city, he said.
    
However, the vehicles with the 'Traffic Check Sticker' are not re-checked en route their destination.

Get valid registration to avoid inconvenience
    
Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) cautioned intending pilgrims against reaching the
Baltal and Pahalgam base camps without registration.
    
"All intending pilgrims are advised against reaching Baltal or Pahalgam without first obtaining a valid registration permit as, otherwise, they would face avoidable difficulties and inconvenience," Chief Executive Officer of SASB Navin K Choudhary said in a statement.

This year the SASB had opened 422 registration counters across the country against 174 last year, he said.
    
"This year registration was commenced three months in advance of the Yatra to ensure that every intending pilgrim could timely go through the process. Those pilgrims who reach Srinagar without registration should go to the Tourist Reception Centre (TRC), Srinagar for seeking registration after obtaining compulsory health certificate," the CEO added.

The CEO said as per the Special High Powered Committee recommendations, which have been endorsed by the Supreme Court, the district administration is bound to stop all those pilgrims who attempt to undertake the Yatra without valid registration.
    
Omar reviews security arrangements

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday reviewed the preparedness of security agencies to ensure safety and secure conduct of the pilgrimage.
    
Omar, who chaired a high-level security review meeting, was provided a detailed account of the preparedness of security agencies for the pilgrimage to the 3,880 metre high holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, an official spokesman said.
    
The Chief Minister reviewed the prevailing law and order situation in the state and received brief from army and security agencies on the subject, he said.

(JPN/Agencies)

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