Around 1,000 devotees will be allowed to visit Kedarnath shrine daily when its portals are opened on May 4, Chief Minister Harish Rawat said and sought to allay safety concerns of pilgrims. The number of visitors to the Himalayan shrine is being regulated to avoid any confusion in case of an emergency, he told mediapersons.
The devotees will also be bio-metrically registered before being allowed to embark on the pilgrimage to keep a tab on them, he said on Monday. Kedarnath and adjoining areas had suffered massive devastation when a natural calamity hit Uttarakhand last year.
The chief minister said all efforts were underway to ensure smooth pilgrimage and added, "There is no reason why they should be anxious about their safety." There will be arrangements in place to airlift passengers in case of any emergency and in landslide prone areas enough vehicles and SDRF personnel will be deployed to evacuate stranded people.
Efforts are also being made on a war footing to repair and build the 'char-dham route' well before the start of the annual pilgrimage. The yatra this season is scheduled to begin on May 2 with the opening of the gates of Yamunotri and Gangotri shrines. It will be followed by the opening of the portals of Kedarnath on May 4 and Badrinath on May 5.
Cautioning that there should be no politics over char-dham yatra which is central to the state's economy, Rawat asked political parties to rise above their organisational affiliations and give positive support to the state government in its efforts to conduct a smooth pilgrimage.