statesman news service
DEHRADUN, 5 OCT: The Bahuguna government is not ready to take any chances in organising the Kedarnath Yatra which began again on Saturday after a lull of almost four months since the June disaster. The state government has made full proof arrangements of providing food, lodging and security to the pilgrims.
About 150 pilgrims, including Union Cabinet Minister Harish Rawat reached Kedarnath Dham today.
The Yatra commenced from Sonprayag from where a 10 Km trek goes towards Bhimbali and then another 5 Kms for Linchouli. The pilgrims would have to cross the Mandakini river to reach Linchauli from Bhimbali where a 4 feet wide bridge has been made.
Two camps have been formed at Bhimbali and Linchauli. Food for the pilgrims will be provided free of cost. The government has put up prefabricated huts and tents and would be providing beds and warm bedding to make it comfortable for the pilgrims .
Adequate health and security arrangements have also been made by the state government. A doctor and a pharmacist have been deputed to provide medical services to the pilgrims. Five police chowkis have been set up at Sonprayag,
Gaurikund, Bhimbali, Lichaulli and Kedarnath.
CCTV cameras have also been installed and armed policemen have been deployed at the police Chowkis.
A mobile team of police led by an inspector with six constables has been pressed into service.
This team is equipped with satellite phones while the entire Yatra route has been put on wireless network. Members of Temple committee and some government staff members have been given wireless sets.
The Kedarnath highway has been opened up by BRO and the regular air services to Kedarnath have alsostarted. Two helicopters from Guptakashi and one from Dehradun will carry the pilgrims.
There would be restriction on the number of pilgrims to Kedarnath, said CDO Dr R S Pokharani adding that office of the relief commissioner set up at Guptakashi would give permit to the pilgrims whose number has been restricted to around 100. Before leaving for the Yatra, free medical check up of the pilgrims would also be done at the State Allopathic hospital in Guptkashi. The pilgrims however would get pre-paid horses or ponies from Sonprayag .