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Maximum Limit Of Pilgrims Visiting Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Increased From 7,000 To 15,000 Per Day

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday increased the limit of pilgrims visiting the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine. As per the announcement, 15,000 pilgrims will be allowed per day to pay obeisance at the cave shrine from November 1. Earlier, only 7,000 pilgrims were allowed to visit the shrine due to COVID-19 restrictions. ALSO READ | Fight Against August 5 Decision Taken By Centre Last Year To Continue: Omar Abdullah In Drass

Issuing a fresh standard operating procedure (SOP), the administration said, “As such, in exercise of powers conferred under the disaster management act, the State Executive Committee hereby orders that the guidelines and instructions shall continue to remain valid till 30.11.2020, subject to the following modifications that instead of a ceiling of 7000, the upper limit for permissible number of pilgrims to SMVD Shrine, Katra, shall be 15000, w.e.f. 01 .11 .2020”.

The development comes three days after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) extended Unlock 5 guidelines till November 30 owing to the sudden increase of Coronavirus infections in the country.

The shrine atop the Trikuta hills was reopened on August 16 after a gap of nearly five months after the Centre announced a nationwide lockdown in March, 2020. Initially, the administration imposed a cap of 2,000 pilgrims daily, including 100 from outside Jammu and Kashmir.

The board officials informed that registration of pilgrims will continue to be done online to avoid people gathering at the yatra registration counters. They also said that accommodation facilities of the board at the bhawan, Adhkuwari, Katra and Jammu are open for the pilgrims following all prescribed SOPs.

All other supplementary facilities set up by the board such as battery-operated vehicles, passenger ropeway and helicopter services are also operating smoothly by strictly following social distancing norms and other precautionary measures, the officials said.

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Free community kitchen facilities at Tarakote Marg and the Prasad Kendra at Sanjichhat, besides bhojanalayas along the track and in the bhawan, have also been operationalised for the pilgrims, they added.

Earlier this month, the government of Jammu and Kashmir had issued fresh guidelines for Unlock 5.0 in which it permitted opening of cinema halls, theatres, multiplexes, swimming pools, bars in restaurants, hotels etc., entertainment parks and similar places, coaching centres from October 15 with 50 per cent capacity.

However, the order stated that schools, colleges, higher educational institutions including Anganwari centres shall remain closed till October 31 whereas online/ distance mode studies will continue.

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