Army constructs 170 feet belly bridge to facilitate pilgrims of Mitchell Mata Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir

The Army has constructed a 170-feet long belly bridge over a river to facilitate pilgrims visiting the Himalayan shrine of Mata Machel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar district, officials said on Sunday. The bridge was recently washed away due to floods.

The 40-day annual Shree Mitchell Mata Yatra, which began on Monday after a gap of two years due to the Covid pandemic, is seeing a huge rush of pilgrims despite heavy rains, officials said. “On the request of the district administration, Kishtwar, the Indian Army in collaboration with NHIDCL jointly constructed a 170-feet tall bailey bridge at Kundel to facilitate the Machayal Yatra,” an officer said.

The officer added that the engineering regiment Rastriya Rifles (RR) and National Highways and Infrastructure Development (NHIDCL) companies have completed the construction of the bridge in record time and it has been opened for the convenience of pilgrims. The Yatra was inaugurated by Divisional Commissioner Jammu Ramesh Kumar and Deputy Commissioner Kishtwar Ashok Sharma with a ceremonial ‘Pratham Puja’ in the presence of priests and numerous devotees.

He said that elaborate security arrangements and basic facilities have been put in place on the route by the police and civil administration to ensure smooth and hassle-free conduct of the annual yatra. A large number of police personnel as well as medical and other personnel have been deployed en route to the shrine to ensure safe travel.

Officials said the local administration has been tasked with ensuring cleanliness and hygiene in and around anchor sites for the convenience of pilgrims. He said that a helicopter facility has also been made available from Gulabgarh to Padar for which booking centers have been established at Jammu, Udhampur, Kishtwar and Gulabgarh.

In view of the expected huge number of pilgrims this year and to ensure their safety, registration facility has been set up at Gulabgarh Padar. Besides, nodal officers and magistrates have been deputed in their respective jurisdictions for smooth conduct of the yatra, he said.

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