Apart from issuing Radio Frequency Identification cards to pilgrims during their journey, Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) will also issue RFID cards to ponies for better safety and security of pilgrims during the yatra.
The documents related to RFID tagging of pony that have been accessed by ANI reads that the Board intends to develop an automated system on a digital platform which is in the interest of visiting pilgrims as well as the service providers (Pony/ Pithus/ Palkiwallas).
“RFID tagging must be integrated with ear-tagging already undertaken by the Animal Husbandry Department of Jammu and Kashmir so as to enable tracking of every pony plying on the track through its unique ear-tag number or RFID on a real-time basis, at any of the prepaid counter and Main Switching Centre (MSC),” it reads.
In the year 2019, 5200 out of a total sanctioned strength of 5500 ponies were registered from the Pahalgam side and 2699 ponies out of total strength of 6000 were registered from the Baltal side.
It further read that RFID tags shall be fixed properly (Tamperproof) on the pony (in the neck or any other suitable part of a pony) for its identification and tracking during the journey on the track enroute Holy Cave and if the Pony operator intentionally breaks the RFID tag, his mule shall be shunted- out of the system and will not be liable to ply on the track and get the business through pre-paid counters.
In the year 2018, a total of 2.85 lakh (2,85,000) pilgrims visited the shrine and in the year 2019, 3.43 lakh pilgrims visited but the yatra was abruptly called off on August 2, just a few days before Article 370 was removed