Delegation meets Chidambaram and seeks extension of Yatra

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders on Tuesday met Home Minister P. Chidambaram and demanded proper medical facilities for Amarnath Yatra pilgrims in view of large number of deaths during the trek to the holy cave in Jammu and Kashmir this year. They also asked for extension of the Yatra so that huge rush could be avoided and the Yatra managed in a proper way.

Led by Leaders of Opposition in Parliament — Sushma Swaraj (Lok Sabha) and Arun Jaitley (Rajya Sabha) — a seven-member delegation of BJP MPs urged Mr. Chidambaram to take urgent steps to prevent deaths of pilgrims, many of whom are young, by ensuring proper medical and boarding facilities for them.

“We have urged the Home Minister to take urgent steps to prevent deaths and extend the tenure of the Yatra. The problem has also got aggravated because of a severe queue system introduced this year. When the number of pilgrims to Amarnath should be between 10,000 to 20,000 per day, around 40,000 to 42,000 pilgrims are visiting the shrine every day. This has led to deaths due to lack of proper medical facilities,” Ms. Swaraj told journalists after meeting Mr. Chidambaram.

Lambasting the Amarnath Shrine Board for reducing the duration from 60 days to just 39 days, Ms. Swaraj said it led to utter chaos in the entire route and at base camps. “The administration has failed miserably in managing huge rush of pilgrims and providing them with proper facilities at high altitudes amidst heavy rains and cold weather…the existing number of tents and huts could in no way cope with the sudden surge of the pilgrims,” she charged.

More In: National | News | States