Alarmed over the rising number of deaths of Amarnath pilgrims en-route the cave shrine, Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) on Sunday appealed to devotees to follow the health advisory issued by it and undertake the pilgrimage only after a thorough medical check up.
The SASB issued the appeal on the instructions of Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra, who is also the chairman of the board, after a review meeting held yesterday, an official spokesman said on Sunday.
SASB appealed to the pilgrims to follow the health advisories and to arrive for the yatra only after a thorough medical check up along with a genuine health certificate, the spokesman said.
The meeting decided to depute a high-level team, including Health Minister Sham Lal Sharma, Director General of Police K. Rajendra and CEO of the board N.K. Chaudhary to visit the base camps at Baltal and Pahalgam on Monday for a fresh appraisal of issues relating to medical care, he said.
The high number of deaths during this year’s yatra has caused worry among SASB authorities as a large number of pilgrims do not follow the advisory issued by the board.
Although a record high 105 deaths took place last year, the number this year is likely to surpass that figure if the current trend of deaths due to heart attack continues.
The Governor was informed that during the first 19 days of the Yatra, 4.45 lakh pilgrims had performed darshan, travelling along both the Chandanwari and Baltal routes.
From the four-times-a-day reports received from the Directors of the Nunwan, Chandanwari, Sheshnag, Panjtarni, Baltal, Sangam and Holy Shrine Camps, it was observed that the day-to-day management of the Camps has been proceeding smoothly, the spokesman said.
Chaudhury informed the meeting that 74 people were killed up to July 13 evening, which included six deaths due to accidents while 68 deaths were due to different medical reasons.
Of the 74 deceased, 53 were in the age group of 20 to 60 years, 16 in the 61 years to 70 years age group and three were above 70 years of age. In two cases, the age of the deceased could not be ascertained.