The security administration is gearing up for the annual Amarnath Yatra that is about to begin in June last week, and registration of pilgrims wanting to take this yatra will start on April 11 this year.
Given the strenuous nature of this holy journey that passes through hills and valleys and creeks, and the huge amount of Lord Shiva devotees that take this yatra every year, adequate security arrangement has to be made in advance.
The administration is putting in place a three layer security measure for the safety of pilgrims and service providers like Ponywallas, Pithuwallas and others. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is one of these measures.
What is RFID and how this works?
For starters, RFID is an automatic data capture and identification tool that is capable of identifying and tracking objects and human alike.
RFID uses Radio Frequency (RF) signals to communicate between a RFID tag and a RFID reader through an antenna. The RFID tag is attached to object or human that you want to identify and track using the data encoded in the tag/transponder.
RFID system is mainly categorized into two categories; passive RFID system and active RFID system. Passive RFID system uses RFID tags that are battery less and is only activated by the RF signal coming from the RFID reader in range. The lack of battery in the transponder makes it lightweight and cost effective as these tags cost very less.
An active RFID system uses a battery powered RFID tag that constantly emits RF signal to the interrogator or reader. It provided the system with more range and more accuracy but these tags are costly and are heavy due to battery.
Ultra High Frequency (UHF) passive RFID is very popular for a cost effective RFID tracking, like in the present case.
RFID for Amarnath Yatra: Identification and Security
Every year thousands of pilgrims take the auspicious journey to Amarnath cave Temple in summer season, in India’s Jammu and Kashmir. This year, the journey will start from June 30th and security administration is starting to put security measures in place.
Based on past experiences and the arduous nature of the landscape and the journey itself, safety of pilgrims and service providers take precedence in order to make this journey a success. Arrangement of tents and shelters, yatri count, yatri tracking, keeping track of yatri movement from both sides (to the Amarnath cave and from the Amarnath cave), food arrangement, kerosene arrangement, and security measures in case of any unnatural calamity, the administration is looking at everything.
The use of RFID is one such measure that provides greater visibility of pilgrims and their movements along the yatra.
The use of RFID helps the administration in tracking the pilgrims and security providers like pony wallahs, pithu wallahs throughout the journey and this is done using RFID enabled Yatra cards or passes.
The registered pilgrims and service providers are issued a RFID enabled yatra pass when they start the yatra and a control room is also set up that stores and analyses the data coming from the RFID tags throughout the journey. RFID readers are placed at various intersections that read the unique ids of the people passing through and this helps administration make valuable inferences.
What are the benefits of RFID tracking in Amarnath Yatra:
The holy Yatra of Baba Amarnath Cave has mighty significance in HINDU religion and people take this auspicious journey every year knowing well the difficult nature of this journey. When Chaucer wrote the Canterbury tales, he imagines a journey full of 29 people from all backgrounds and the journey to st. Thomas Becket shrine in Canterbury is surely long and arduous. Well, this journey to Baba Amarnath in Kashmir holds much more significance and is taken by thousands of pilgrims and demands strict security measures unlike the Canterbury tales.
The use of RFID for Amarnath Yatra has several benefits as follows:
1. Use of RFID passes ensures the safety of pilgrims from unwarranted elements taking part in the journey.
2. RFID provides greater visibility in terms of pilgrims’ movements or the lack of it. This helps in identifying bottlenecks and taking appropriate steps to solve the problem.
3. RFID can also track pilgrims in case one is lost or left behind from a group since the journey takes several days.
4. RFID tracking and identification is very helpful in case of natural calamity.
5. RFID tracking is very helpful in enhancing the yatra experience of the pilgrims as well.
- Last updated on Jun 12, 2023