New Delhi: State-owned BSNL has become the first telecom firm to launch mobile services at the Holy Amarnath cave, as well as on the two routes of the yatra.
The services were launched by Minister of State for Telecom Sachin Pilot, who made the first call from the Holy cave to NN Vohra, the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.
Eleven towers have been put up at Baltal-I, Baltal-II, Baltal Base Camp, Noonwan, Lakipora, Betab Valley, Domail, Sangam/Holi Cave, Panchtarni, Chandanwari and Chandanwari Base Camp, of which some are on motorable roads and others are on pony tracks.
The yatra route, thus far not served by any telecom operator, will enjoy telecom services for the first time, BSNL said in a statement.
The minister expressed his gratitude to the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and the state administration for providing the required government support.
He also thanked the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board for their efforts and said that BSNL had risen well to the challenging task of providing connectivity to the shrine, which is situated at a height of 13,500 feet.
The minister said it has been the endeavour of BSNL to provide telephone services throughout the country, including rural, remote, inhospitable and geographically difficult areas.
The service would be very useful to the over 4 lakh pilgrims who visit the shrine every year, especially old people who would like to stay connected to their families while undertaking the yatra.
Connectivity here will also benefit local inhabitants, the administration and security forces, enabling them to stay in touch with each other and facilitate people living in and visiting the area.