Steps to improve Amarnath Yatra with focus on safety

Steps to improve Amarnath Yatra with focus on safety

Following the death of Amarnath pilgrims, the Centre on Tuesday promised additional facilities, including setting up more medical centres and providing proper shelter on yatra routes.

Replying to a calling attention motion in the Rajya Sabha, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that the government would look into suggestions made by members like starting the yatra early to the mountain cave in South Kashmir, making arrangements for mechanised removal of snow along the route and setting up a ropeway to the cave.

Shinde said 6,21,145 pilgrims undertook the Amarnath Yatra in 2012 which saw 93 casualties. This, he said, was lower than 106 casualties in 2011 when a total of 6,35,611 pilgrims undertook the Yatra. Shinde said special a high-power committee appointed by the Supreme Court is likely to submit its report by September and government will take action on its recommendations.

Opposition charges

Earlier, Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley charged the government with reducing the yatra period under a "pre-conceived plan" even as number of pilgrims was rising.

He said the Jammu and Kashimir Government should take steps to provide land to Amarnath Shrine Board on lease in major camp sites to enable  proper facilities to pilgrims.