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Amarnath Yatra: Dedicated Counters For Covid Sampling Being Set up in J-K's Kathua

File photo of pilgrims travel on ponies or on foot, along a track besides a glacier-fed stream on their way to the cave for Amarnath Yatra. (Reuters)

File photo of pilgrims travel on ponies or on foot, along a track besides a glacier-fed stream on their way to the cave for Amarnath Yatra. (Reuters)

This year, the annual yatra is being held in a restricted manner in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration is setting up dedicated terminals and counters at Lakhanpur to ensure registration and medical sampling of all pilgrims on their arrival in the Union Territory for the upcoming annual Amarnath yatra, an official spokesman said on Monday.

The decision was taken during a discussion between Jammu Divisional Commissioner Sanjeev Verma and the Kathua district administration on the entry mechanism of intending pilgrims at Lakhanpur along the Jammu-Pathankot highway, the spokesman said.

Verma along with Inspector General of Police, Jammu, Mukesh Singh visited Lakhanpur to oversee the arrangements for the yatra to the 3,880 -meter-high holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas later this month, he said.

This year, the annual yatra is being held in a restricted manner in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The divisional commissioner also called for making adequate arrangements for boarding and lodging facilities of pilgrims in case the yatra is halted due to any emergency, the spokesman said.

While reviewing security arrangements, Verma directed police to deploy adequate number of personnel at Lakhanpur and at all important yatra points.

Meanwhile, Ramban District Development Commissioner Nazim Zai Khan also reviewed the arrangements, being put in place to ensure smooth conduct of the yatra, at a high-level meeting.

Khan constituted various committees to monitor arrangements besides ensuring implementation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the spokesman said.

Keeping in view COVID-19 pandemic challenges, Khan directed 'langer' organisers and officers to allow only those 'sewadars' (workers) in their kitchens who have latest COVID-19 negative reports besides ensuring prohibition on use of polythene bags and other such materials.

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