If you are heading out for the Amarnath yatra from Gujarat this year, it would be mandatory to wear bulletproof vests. The Gujarat government issued new guidelines to this effect making wearing of bulletproof vests mandatory for pilgrims.
This would mean that the tour operators and pilgrims will have to shell out extra money. The Gujarat government will not issue a permit if these guidelines are not followed.
Currently, tour operators charge around Rs 10,000 per yatri. Each bulletproof jacket costs around Rs 12,000. There are 7,000 registered yatris on an average every year from Gujarat and in the case of the unregistered yatris the number is around 30,000.
The other issue which the tour operators would face is with regard to the purchase of the jackets which are not available on the open market for civilians. The bus operators have complained that the norm has been made applicable only to them. It does not apply to private taxis or those travelling by air or train.
The move by the Gujarat government comes in the wake of the Amarnath yatra attack that took place last year. A bus from Gujarat was attacked by terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.