In a bid to facilitate Amarnath pilgrims to stay connected with their families back home, the Jammu Smart City Limited (JSCL) on Saturday set up WiFi zones at three vital locations including the base camp Bhagwati Nagar here, an official said.
The two other locations where the WiFi zones were established are the Jammu railway station and the main bus stand, the official said. He said the three locations were among over two dozen already identified places in the city where the WiFi services are planned to be installed under the smart city mission for the benefit of the students and the business community besides the visiting tourists.
JSCL, a special purpose vehicle constituted in August 2017 by the Jammu and Kashmir government for the implementation of smart city development projects in Jammu city, had signed an agreement with service provider LMES to install WiFi hotspots at 20 more locations in November last year.
The officials said any user can avail of the Public WiFi facility which is free of cost up to 500 MB after login and validation through a One Time Password. Amarnath pilgrims camping in Jammu have welcomed the facility and said this will enable them to remain connected with their families back home.
"The prepaid mobile SIM connections are not working in Jammu and Kashmir once you enter the Union Territory. The installation of the WiFi facility is a welcome step by the government," Arjun Kumar, a pilgrim, said.
Meanwhile, Amarnath pilgrims reaching Jammu from different parts of the country demanded the opening of many more counters to facilitate their smooth registration. Six counters including the one for Sadhus are already functional for ‘Tatkal’ registration of pilgrims intending to pay obeisance at the 3,880 meter-high holy cave of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas.
The 43-day-long Amarnath yatra started on June 30 from the twin routes – the traditional 48-km Nunwan in south Kashmir’s Pahalgam and the 14-km shorter Baltal in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal.
Five counters have been established for Tatkal registration of the pilgrims at Vaishnavi Dham, Mahajan Sabha, Panchayat Ghar, and two at Geeta Bhawan and Ram Mandir for the registration of Sadhus, while a token counter has also been established at Saraswati Dham for the convenience of pilgrims and crowd management.
Many pilgrims complained about standing in long queues for hours and demanded the setting up of more counters. Deputy Commissioner Jammu Avny Lavasa on Saturday paid a surprise visit to the Jammu railway station to inspect the arrangements for the Yatra.
The Deputy Commissioner visited the RFID center established at the Tourist Railway Centre building within the premises of Railway Station. She also inspected the Volunteer Help Desks established by the district administration, in addition to counters and help desks established by Government Railway Police, at different places in the railway station to guide and help yatri passengers, an official spokesman said.
The Deputy Commissioner also reviewed the security and other arrangements including token and registration services at the railway station, Vaishnavi Dham and Panchayat Bhawan.