VISAKHAPATNAM: The Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) began registration of pilgrims for Amarnath Yatra on March 1 and now various stakeholders involved in issuing yatra permit are gearing up to handle the rush of pilgrims from across the north coastal districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari.

The yatra will begin on June 29 and end on August 7 and all branches of Punjab National Bank and YES Bank have been entrusted with the registration process. Pilgrims keen on approaching travel agents will also have to follow the SASB guidelines.

As the registration and issue of yatra permits will be done on a first-come-first-serve basis,,” said a senior bank official, adding that district officials must make the do’s and don’ts of the pilgrimage clear to all travellers. “This apart, the district administration should concentrate on the eligibility of people particularly from the point of health to take up the tour,” the officer said.

Srikakulam collector P Laxmi Narasimham said, “Many pilgrims from my district participate in Amarnath Yatra every year. There are no official instructions from the government about the precautionary steps and awareness camps for pilgrims as on Friday.”

KGH superintendent Dr G Arjuna said they will start issuing the health certificates from March 7. “A special medical board will conduct tests for those intending to undertake the Amarnath Yatra and issue the certificates to the eligible pilgrims,” he said, adding that pilgrims have to approach the nearest Mee Seva centres to apply for the health certificates. According to travels companies, nearly 1,000 pilgrims every year take up the pilgrimage from the four districts.

Every pilgrim must submit an application form and compulsory health certificate (CHC) to obtain the yatra permit. The government hospitals at Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Kakinada towns as well as King George Hospital in Vizag are authorised to issue the certificates.