Governor Satya Pal Malik, on Tuesday, appreciated the role being played by the Mountain Rescue Teams (MRTs) while facilitating pilgrims en route the Holy Cave of Shri Amarnathji.

He mentioned that MRTs face life-threatening challenges in the snowbound and high altitude tracks of the mighty Himalayas and save many lives. Before the Yatra starts, they establish their camps in the most difficult terrains on the Yatra route.

These teams often work in 8-10 ft snow and face extreme weather conditions like strong Ultra violet rays, snowfall and threat of wildlife. However, despite these difficult circumstances, the team’s real satisfaction lies in saving lives.

The MRTs were first deployed during Shri Amarnathji Yatra 2009 by Jammu & Kashmir Police. Since then each year, MRTs are deployed by J&K police along with the teams from NDRF, SDRF & CRPF.

Due to their crucial role in saving lives, the number of  MRTs deployed have been increased every year. In Yatra 2019, 31 MRTs have been deployed as compared to 25 MRTs during 2018 along the tracks leading to the Holy Cave on both Baltal and Pahalgam axes. In addition, the number of personnel in each MRT has been increased.

1200 Jawans of J&K Police are trained in mountain rescue operations in rocky and snowbound terrains and out of these, 140-150 are shortlisted for yatra duty every year based upon their physical and mental fitness. A refresher course for MRTs on rescue operations, Basic Life Support Systems (BLS), Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and other first aid techniques is organised by the government before their deployment.

This year, 4 MRTs against 2 during 2018 have been deployed at MG Pass which are facilitating the yatris in crossing this most difficult stretch at an altitude of 14,000 feet.

One additional team is deployed between Railpathri and Brarimarg.

The 31 MRTs of JKP, NDRF, SDRF and CRPF cover the entire yatra track. Each member of the team is having an individual kit with gaiters, over mitts and equipped with mountain rescue equipment like carabiners, Jumars, descending rappels, avalanche rods, helmets, oxygen cylinder and first aid kit.

Each team comprises of 10-14 members having 2 operators with VHF phones and walkie talkie who coordinate with other members. The teams assist yatris in crossing tough stretches and help them to reach nearby camps.

Each MRT operates in its area of responsibility and accordingly 11 rescue teams are deployed at Sheshnag, Wavbal, Mahagunus Top, Poshpatri, Kelnar, Dardkote,  Sangam Top, Lower Holycave, Y-Junction, Brarimarg and Railpathri. During Yatra 2019, 225 rescue operations have been conducted till date and many precious lives have been saved.