To monitor the movements and number of devotees visiting the cave shrine, the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVSDB) has started the trial of Radio Frequency Identity Card (RIFD) to introduce this system as soon as possible. . The RFID facility will replace the current current format of the Yatra slip.
RFID is based on a wireless technology used for tracking by radio waves. Tags can contain encrypted information, serial numbers and short descriptions.
Every year around one million pilgrims from all over the country and abroad pay their respects to the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi cave shrine located in the Trikuta hills at Katra base camp in Reasi district of Jammu and Cashmere.
Anshul Garg, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SMVDSB, told a news agency that the RIFD system will be introduced to track pilgrims, especially those who go missing or become separated from groups or families at peak times.
The CEO has informed us that the trials in this regard are already underway and in the next few weeks it will be fully launched. He further stated that trails are already open for which a counter is installed and the pilgrims receive the RFID cards. This will be a single-use card that will be given to the faithful after completing their pilgrimage at the exit point.
Online registration is already mandatory for Yatra
To regulate the rush of devotees making the Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrimage, the authorities have already closed all “Yatra slips” booking counters after making it mandatory to register online to head to Bhawan from Katra.
The decision to close all registration counters was taken after the first-ever stampede in Bhawan from the cave shrine on January 1, 2022, in which 12 devotees were killed and 15 others injured. It has already been decided that pilgrims registered online will be allowed to perform the Yatra beyond the Ban-Ganga entrance gate.
The sanctuary council has been told to take crowd management measures
After the stampede on January 1, the SMVDSB was tasked with taking urgent action on a variety of fronts, including effective crowd management, increased infrastructure, and the development of plans to decongest the entire runway, in especially the Bhawan area, the separation of entry and exit routes in Bhawan. .
He emphasized the proper use of technology and the implementation of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking system for effective management of crowds and queues.
Jammu and Kashmir Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha, who is chairman of the shrine board, had advised recruiting technical experts and adopting best practices in crowd management.
On July 28, Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha also laid the groundwork for Yatri (Sky Walk) Queue Management System and other infra projects of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine. Sinha was also briefed by the CEO on proposed solutions such as RFID-based tracking and batch pilgrim dispatch among a few others.