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Uttarakhand: Char Dham Yatra begins, ITBP makes extensive preparations for disaster response

Dehradun: The Indo-Tibetan Border Force (ITBP) has made extensive preparation to respond to any natural disaster and felicitate pilgrimage movement in Uttarakhand during Char Dham Yatra, which commenced on May 3.

The spokesperson of ITBP, Vivek Kumar Pandey said that they are the first responder to any natural calamity. "There have been seven RRCs set up by ITBP in the Himalayan region for disaster response. These RRCs are functioning, two of them are nearby the Char Dham Yatra route; one in Uttarkashi and another in Gauchar near Kedarnath Dham," he said.
Pandey stated that ITBP has conducted numerous rescue operations over the years and saved thousands of lives. In 2022, ITBP saved the lives of 48 people during three rescue operations in the Himalayan range.

"We have conducted more than 200 search and rescue operations in recent years. In the 2013 Kedarnath floods, ITBP rescued more than 30,000 people and shifted them to safe locations. Since 2014 till date, ITBP has saved 6,297 lives in 155 rescue operations in the Himalayan region. During the same period, ITBP recovered 295 bodies." Pandey said.
Pandey said that this year they are expecting a large number of people to come for the Char Dham yatra. ITBP has planned and prepared the teams accordingly. Regular training and drills are underway to respond to any disaster situation.

After rains the probability of landslides increases in the mountain area. Pandey said that the ITBP is ready to face any calamity if there is any call for a disaster rescue operation.
"There are teams which are in touch with district administration and NDRF to carry out rescue operations in case of landslides or to conduct rescue operations by Air. We have our standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place to respond to any untoward incident," said Pandey.
After almost two years, Char Dham Yatra commenced, without Covid-19 restrictions since the pandemic began. Unlike the last year, the government has not mandated carrying a negative COVID-19 test report or a COVID-19 vaccination certificate.

The yatra began with the opening of Gangotri and Yamunotri portals for devotees on Tuesday, on the occasion of Akshay Tritiya in the presence of Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. While, Kedarnath will re-open on May 6, the doors of Badrinath will open on May 8, this year.
Earlier, on Monday, CM Dhami flagged off free health services provided by a private health organization for devotees on the Char Dham Yatra route to ensure a safe and comfortable yatra for people. Teams of doctors and nurses from social organisations will be providing health services to devotees during the yatra across the state.

Notably, Gangotri, along with Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath are the four most revered Hindu pilgrimages in the Himalayas.
According to the Uttarakhand government, 7,000 pilgrims will be allowed daily at Gangotri, 15,000 at Badrinath, 12,000 at Kedarnath, and 4,000 at Yamunotri. This arrangement has been made by the government for 45 days. (ANI)

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