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Anshul Garg reviews security arrangements at Vaishnodevi shrine ahead of new year influx of pilgrims

Last Updated on December 16, 2023 at 5:08 pm

To have a comprehensive review of security and operational preparedness of Shrine for hassle-free pilgrimage prior to onset of New Year-2024, Chief Executive Officer, Anshul Garg today presided over a meeting with security agencies and other stakeholders at Spiritual Growth Centre, Katra.

       The Chief Executive Officer emphasized that New Year-2024 is approach closer and the Board is anticipating a significant influx of pilgrims from various parts of the country and abroad to holy Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji, besides, at the base camp Katra, thus stressed the need of synergy between all stakeholders.

         Laying focus on the smooth regulation of Yatra in line with the directions of Hon’ble Chairman, SMVDSB (Lt. Governor, JK-UT), CEO said that apart from deployment of security personnel, CCTVs will be acting as watchdogs enroute Bhawan and Katra. Besides, the stakeholders shall ensure that the pilgrims before embarking on the Yatra, wear the valid RFID card at all times as they are linked with various facilities during the yatra and no pilgrim shall be allowed to start the yatra without a valid RFID card. He further enjoined upon representatives of security agencies deployed at all entry points to remain more vigilant so that no pilgrim without frisking and registration enters the track for their pilgrimage.

         Chief Executive Officer stressed for action on diverse fronts for hassle free pilgrimage by effective crowd management, augmentation of holding areas on the track and in Katra town, working out plans for decongestion of the entire track, particularly the area at Parvati Bhawan at Bhawan having facilities like lockers, washrooms and waiting halls, strict regulation of entry, exit routes at Bhawan and all time surveillance through dedicated CCTV network of over 700 cameras.

        CEO also reviewed various components of the disaster management measures and directed to make regular announcements for the decongestion of the crowd on the track.

       A slew of directives were also issued by the Chair to the concerned quarters for movement of vehicles, sanitation and drinking water arrangements and illumination of dark spots at Katra town, besides, physical and systematic improvements wherever required after critical examination. He further stressed the security agencies and other stakeholders to verify and conduct census of pony porters to thwart any suspicious element on the track.

  In the meeting, Mohd Suleman Choudhary DIG Udhampur-Reasi Range highlighted major challenges for the deployed security forces in coming days for managing the expected influx of pilgrims on New Year. He briefed that additional forces as per request shall be deployed in and around Katra and on the track enroute Bhawan in coordination with other security agencies to ensure fool-proof security and effective Yatra management.

    SSP Reasi and Commandant, CRPF presented a detailed security grid to be put in place and discussed various security measures going to be placed on the onset of New year enroute to the Holy Shrine, besides deployment of QRTs (quick response teams) and a multi-tier security grid comprising police, CRPF and other paramilitary forces.

          Among those present in the meeting were, Additional CEO, Jt CEOs; Dy CEO, Asstt CEO SMVDSB, SDM Bhawan; SP Katra; SDPO Katra, and officers from Army, IB, CID, SMVDSB and other intelligence agencies.