Radio-frequency identity cards have been introduced on a trial basis for pilgrims visiting the Vaishno Devi shrine atop Trikuta hills in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district, officials said on Sunday. The radio-frequency identification system is based on wireless technology which can be tracked through radio waves. The tags can carry encrypted information, serial numbers and short descriptions.
“The RFID technology was put in place last week on a trial basis from Balganga and Tarakote enroute to the cave shrine, aimed at tracking the movement of pilgrims on a real-time basis,” a senior official of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board said. The system will help the board to regulate the number of pilgrims in accordance with the holding capacity of the trek and the cave shrine, he said.
The official said verification counters have been set up at seven places where security personnel and enforcement staff will check the cards, while there are 29 locations where antenna and trackers have been placed along the 13-km route from Katra to the Bhawan (sanctum sanctorum).”The current trial of the RFID is crucial to identify and resolve any issues before the complete implementation of the project in the coming days,” he said.
The officials said RFID is bound to replace the age-old traditional yatra slip system and is mandatory for all pilgrims visiting the shrine. They said the RFIDs are reusable and pilgrims returning to the base camp after having ‘darshan’ will have to deposit the cards at the exit point. The officials said over 60 lakh pilgrims have visited the cave shrine since the beginning of the year.