Vaishno Devi Yatra to start from August 16, guidelines issued.
The J&K government on Tuesday issued guidelines and instructions for opening of all religious places from August 16. It is clearly mentioned in the order that any deviation from this order shall attract penal action under the Disaster Management Act, 2005
Although general guidelines have been issued for places of worship, special instructions and SoPs have been set for the holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi.
“Due to the relatively large number of pilgrims visiting the shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi ji at Katra, additional guidelines shall be applied to this shrine and will be enforced by Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board and District Magistrate, Reasi,” the order reads.
For pilgrims coming from outside J&K, the protocol of 100% compulsory COVID-19 antigen testing will be followed. Permission to proceed beyond Katra on yatra shall be accorded only when COVID result of these pilgrims is negative. Pilgrims from ‘Red’ districts of J&K shall also be compulsorily tested and allowed to proceed on yatra if the result is negative.
“Necessary administrative arrangement and coordination will be done by concerned District authorities and Shrine Board,” the order mentions.
There shall be a ceiling of maximum 5,000 pilgrims per day till September 30
A maximum of 500 pilgrims per day will be permitted within this ceiling in a graded manner from outside J&K.
Registration of pilgrims should be made only through online mode, in order to avoid any assembly of persons at current counters.
Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) facilities at multiple locations at the start of yatra route could also be set up to randomly test and identify any potential carrier of infection.
Periodic COVID-19 antigen testing of the exposed / frontline staff of SMVDSB and other service providers in the surrounding area shall be carried out in order to keep a constant tab on the spread of COVID infection in Katra and its surrounding area.
Highest level of cleaning and sanitisation protocol for the sanctum sanctorum, including the holy caves should be followed.
Sanitisation and hygiene of all toilet blocks, bathing ghats, guest houses, battery cars, Helicopters, Cable car shall be ensured.
Optimum use of all Yatra routes to ensure maximum staggering and physical distancing.
Sufficient physical distancing inside the caves to ensure good ventilation. Sufficient facility for washing of hands and feet.
Linen/blanket facility not to be allowed. Pilgrims should not be encouraged to stay at Bhawan after darshans.
Provision of dedicated facilities for Isolation and Quarantine purpose.