The Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) has decided to conduct the Amarnath Yatra from June 28 for 55 days. It will conclude on Raksha Bandhan, August 21. The decision on the date and duration was taken at a three-hour-long SASB meeting chaired by J&K Governor N N Vohra in Delhi on Thursday. The registration process is likely to start well ahead of the yatra and will close on March 1.
From this year, pilgrims would have to furnish a health certificate while registering for the yatra. The certificate format has been drawn by a committee of medical experts from the Union health ministry and the state health department. The pilgrims will have to submit a self-declaration form about his/her current health status and medical history.
To check fake health certificates, only certificates issued after February 1 by authorised doctors and medical institutes would be considered. All states/UTs have been asked to furnish a list of doctors/ medical institutes who would be authorised to issue the certificates.
SASB Chief Executive Officer Navin K Choudhary said a comprehensive action plan has been drawn up to implement the recommendations of the State High Powered Committee and the directions of the Supreme Court.
In view of its inability to upgrade the walking tracks along both the routes in the yatra before the start of pilgrimage, the SASB has decided that only 6,500 pilgrims, excluding those travelling by helicopters from Baltal and Pahalgam to Panjtarni, would be allowed a day from each side. The SASB has also decided that children below 13 years, elders above 75 years and pregnant women with more than six-weeks of pregnancy will not be allowed for pilgrimage.
It has also decided to discontinue the provision for online registration as last year many pilgrims who did not register fraudulently duplicated the e-yatra permits. The yatra permits with date and route will be colour coded to facilitate easy checking by the police deployed at the access gates at Domel and Chandanwari .
Medical Aid Centres would be set up en route shrine after every 2 km. The Union health ministry had asked states/UTs to depute specialist doctors. Standard Operating Procedure is being formulated for evacuation of ill/injured pilgrims with assistance from State Disaster Management Authority and the IAF. Mountain Rescue Teams would also be deployed.