The Army has built a 170-feet long bailey bridge on a river to facilitate pilgrims visiting the Himalayan shrine of Mata Machail in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar district, officials said on Sunday. The bridge was recently washed away due to a flash-flood.
The 40 day annual Shree Machail Mata yatra, which started on Monday after a gap of two years due to the Covid pandemic, is witnessing a huge rush of pilgrims despite heavy rains, officials said. “On the request of district administration, Kishtwar, the Indian Army supported by NHIDCL jointly constructed the 170-feet long bailey bridge at Kundel to facilitate Machail yatra”, an officer said.
Engineering regiment Rastriya Rifles (RR) and companies of National Highways and Infrastructure Development (NHIDCL) have completed establishment of the bridge in a record time and it was thrown open for the ease of the yatris, the official added. The yatra started with the ceremonial ‘pratham pooja’ performed by Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Ramesh Kumar and Deputy Commissioner, Kishtwar, Ashok Sharma in the presence of priests and scores of devotees.
Elaborate security arrangements and basic amenities have been put in place en-route by the police and the civil administration to ensure the smooth and hassle-free conduct of the annual yatra, they said. A large number of police personnel as well as medical and other staff have been deployed en-route the shrine to make the journey safe.
Local administration has been entrusted with the work to ensure the sanitation and hygiene in and around the langar sites for the convenience of the yatris, officials said. A chopper facility has also been made available from Gulab Garh to Paddar for which booking centers have been established at Jammu, Udhampur, Kishtwar and Gulab Garh, they said.
In view of expected heavy footfall of yatris this year and ensure their safety, the registration facility has been put in place at Gulab Garh Paddar. Besides, nodal officers and magistrates have been deployed for smooth conduct of yatra in their respective jurisdictions, they said.