JAMMU:As the Jammu and Kashmir administration is on its toes with regard to arrangements and preparations for an annual 62-day long Shri Amarnath Yatra starting from July 1, three-tier security arrangements are also being put in place for which Indian Air Force (IAF) for the first time, will also play a key role in augmenting the security sector for smooth and incident-free pilgrimage.
Notably, as per official sources, more than 2.5 lakh pilgrims from across the country have registered themselves online for the yatra while the online helicopter booking has also started from Friday.
“This year, IAF will be playing a crucial role in making the pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Yatra completely safe and smooth,” official sources said.
They asserted that the IAF helicopters, to be stationed at the identified locations en route Yatra route, will regularly be carrying out recce and maintaining surveillance around the holy cave.
“Earlier also the Indian Air Force has been helping, but only in emergency situations as per the requirement,” they said adding that the helicopters would keep surveillance along Baltal and Nunwan routes and also around the holy cave at regular intervals to keep check on any mishappening taking place.
Pertinent to mention that in July 2022, 16 pilgrims were killed in the flash floods triggered due to a cloudburst in the upper areas of the holy cave.
The road between the holy cave and Baltal was also washed away at many places and the pilgrimage had to be suspended for a few days.
Sources further said, “One helicopter each will be available round the clock at Panchtarni, Sheshnag and Baltal to carry out any kind of relief work in case an emergency like situation arises.”
“On several occasions, pilgrims get unwell, some suffer cardiac arrest or any other medical emergency, in such a situation, IAF copters will rescue and shift them to the health centres so that precious lives can be saved,” they said.
Sources said that apart from this, the helicopters will also be delivering necessary equipment for the security forces deployed on the yatra route and to cater other medical emergencies, adding, “Chinook helicopters of the India Air Force are already being used by the Border Roads Organization to transport construction material used for road construction along the yatra route.”
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