Biometric registration of devotees and facilities like SMS alerts in case of an emergency are among a slew of steps being taken by the state government in view of the char dham pilgrimage scheduled to begin in May this year.
The Uttarakhand government has decided to keep track of devotees visiting the state for the Char Dham yatra by issuing biometric cards and registering the mobile numbers of pilgrims to provide timely weather forecast.
"All efforts are being made by the tourism department to ensure that people visiting the char dhams have a sense of total security while touring the shrines this year", Tourism Secretary Umakant Panwar told reporters referring to pilgrimage to Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangogtri and Yamunotri.
"A total of 25 points have been identified, most of them in the Garhwal region, where biometric cards would be made and issued to pilgrims," said tourism secretary Umakant Panwar on Monday.
Apart from largescale damage to lives and property during last year’s natural calamity, the confidence of visitors to Uttarakhand in their own safety also took a beating in the flashfloods, he said adding "we are doing all we can to restore that lost sense of security among tourists and devotees alike".
A char dham yatra control room will be set up at the tourism directorate here where devotees will be given all the information related to the high altitude shrines located in the state. It will operate from 7 am to 9 pm, the Tourism Secretary said. All district magistrates of Garhwal region and the regional offices of all departments will be linked up with the control room, he said.
This control room will be separate from the disaster control room which is already operational and will help visitors get information like weather updates, availability of rooms in hotels, hospitals, petrol pumps and ATMs close to lodges and hotels etc, the official said.