Dehradun: 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.
"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.
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".
"We want to tell the world we are ready for a smooth, safe and trouble-free char dham pilgrimage this year," he said.
The portals of Gangotri and Yamunotri will be thrown open to devotees on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya on May 2 followed by Kedarnath on May 4 and Badrinath on May 5.
The yatra to Sikh shrine of Hemkund Sahib is slated to begin on May 25.
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.