Amarnath Yatra: All pilgrims arriving in J&K to be sampled, tested & quarantined till reported negative: Govt

Asserting that COVID 19 pandemic and spread in Kashmir a cause of concern, Jammu and Kashmir of Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam said that all pilgrims arriving in the Union Territory to perform annual Shri Amarnath pilgrimage shall be sampled tested and quarantined till reported negative.

Chairing a meeting of the Sub- Committee constituted by the Supreme Court for Shri Amarnath Yatra, the Chief Secretary reviewed the Yatra preparations and observed that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Executive Committee constituted under the Disaster Management Act has issued SoPs which, inter alia, prescribe 100 per cent RTPCR test for all persons travelling into J&K.

Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Deputy Commissioners and SSPs of Ganderbal and Anantnag districts, Additional CEO, Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) besides other senior functionaries of the concerned departments attended the meeting through video conference.

The Chief Secretary further added that the camping facilities earlier utilized for Yatris, especially at entry points are currently being utilized as quarantine centres.

He emphasised that SoPs for testing of persons entering J&K shall apply to Yatris as well. Besides, social distancing norms would further strain these holding capacities.

Mr Subrahmanyam added that keeping in view the circumstances, the Yatra this year, would have to be undertaken in a restricted manner so that the SoPs are strictly adhered to during the conduct of the Yatra.

However, Baba Amarnath Aarti this year will be telecast live on Doordarshan while the Chief Secretary emphasised that adequate arrangement should be made to ensure unhindered telecast of the Aarti.