Jammu: The first batch comprising of 5,100 Amarnath yatris was on Sunday flagged off by the state minister for health Choudhary Lal Singh from the Lakhanpur base camp.
“The first batch comprising of 5,100 Amarnath pilgrims was today flagged off by the minister for health Choudhary Lal Singh from Lakhanpur base camp- the gateway of Jammu and Kashmir- for onward journey to the Himalayan cave shrine in South Kashmir District of Anantnag,” an official spokesman said.
The pilgrims left Lakhanpur at 10 am, while many of them registered themselves for the annual pilgrimage on spot for which the government has put up a special counter.
District Development Commissioner Kathua Ajay Singh Jamwal, besides other senior officers of civil and police were present at the flagging off ceremony.
Earlier, interacting with the pilgrims, Lal Singh said that government has made adequate arrangements for smooth conduct of the yatra from Lakhanpur to cave shrine.
“Entire state administration is fully geared up to provide every facility like, drinking water, medicare, electricity and security to the yatris at base camps,” he said.
Praying for a smooth and safe yatra, the Minister said the pilgrims have to brave tough and inclement weather conditions during the yatra.
He made an appeal to people to undertake the yatra only after proper medical checkup and registration.
He said this year, the Health and Medical Education Department has set up medical aid camps at a distance of every 10 km from Lakhanpur to cave shrine.
First batch of pilgrims, which left Lakhanpur amid chanting of religious slogans, hymns and prayers, included males, females and children on a fleet of 27 buses and 21 Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs).
Later, the Minister also inspected the registration counter, medical aid camps and control room established at toll plaza Lakhanpur. All the vehicles enroute the shrine of Amarnath would be registered in Jammu and issued with receipts and pilgrimage stickers.
Meanwhile, an official of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board said that till 29 June a total of 2,04,508 pilgrims had secured Advance Registration and 22,104 had purchased helicopter tickets from Baltal and Pahalgam to Panjtarni.