The CRPF Saturday launched a mobile help centre that will visit different lodgement centres here to address the problems being faced by Amarnath Yatra pilgrims, an official said. This is in addition to the help desks set up by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) at the Jammu railway station and the airport.
The initiative was welcomed by the devotees undertaking the arduous journey to the 3,880 metre high holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas. "There are at least 18 lodgement centres for the pilgrims in Jammu city and the idea behind introducing the mobile help centre was to reach out to them instead of waiting for them to call us for any help," Jammu-based CRPF spokesperson Ashish Kumar Jha said.
Jha, who is also commandant of 166th Battalion of the force, said the service was named 'Sachal Sahayta Kendra' and is guided by 'security, sahita (assistance) and chikitsa (medical attention)'. "We are happy that it is getting a good response from the pilgrims," he said, adding that the service would continue till the conclusion of the yatra on August 15.
Besides doctors and paramedical staff, the van has other trained staff who can help the pilgrims with the route of the yatra, safety related information and any other assistance. Jha said the van is linked to the signal centre of the force and the Police Control Room in Jammu. As the special vehicle reached the 'Vaishnavi Dham' lodgement centre near the Jammu railway station here in the forenoon, the pilgrims turned up in good numbers to avail the facility, the official said.
"I had a headache and was feeling uneasy upon reaching here Friday evening... The CRPF doctor provided some medicines free of cost," Navneet Soni, a resident of Madhya Pradesh, said. Dinesh Kumar, who is undertaking the yatra for the fourth time, said many in his group were nauseated and dehydrated when they reached the lodgement centre but the CRPF came to their rescue.
He lauded the force as well as the state administration for providing "much better facilities" compared to previous years. "I salute the forces for the selfless service...they are there to provide security, secure the tracks and are also coming forward with this noble action," Vishal Kumar, another pilgrim, said.