Governor voices concern over ‘rising’ pilgrim deaths
Advises Yatris to closely follow Do’s and Don’ts
Srinagar, July 19: Governor NN Vohra, who is also the Chairman of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) Thursday chaired a meeting here to review the progress of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra, particularly focusing on the medical problems of the pilgrims during the first 24 days of the pilgrimage.
An official spokesman said Navin K. Choudhary, Chief Executive Officer SASB, Preet Pal Singh, Additional CEO SASB were present in the meeting. The Governor also held discussions with the Minister for Health Sham Lal Sharma.
The spokesman said on Governor’s directions, the Health Department had asked the Doctor In-charge of the Shrine Cave Medical Aid Centre to analyse the causes of death of 17 pilgrims who had died at the Cave from 26th June to 16th July 2012. “The CEO informed that according to the report received from Dr Manmeet Singh, In-charge Medical Officer, J&K Health Services Medical Aid Centre at the Holy Cave (he has been performing duty at the Cave in the past six Yatras) and Dr. Yawar Yaseen, MD (Medicine), out of 17 Yatris who lost their lives seven were in the senior age group (4 were 60 years of age and 3 of 68, 70 and 72 years respectively) and the remaining 10 (in the 24-59 years age group) could not bear the harsh climatic and the high altitude conditions,” the spokesman informed.
According to the Doctor’s report, the spokesman said, “most of deceased had come ill-prepared for the pilgrimage in terms of proper clothing, most of them believed in a dip in ice cold water before Darshan; most believed in fasting for three days before having Darshan, which causes Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) which is especially fatal for diabetics who take their anti-diabetic medicines while keeping fast.”
The Doctors, the spokesman said, have also noted that “Registered Medical Practitioners from outside the State have issued Medical Certificates to medically unfit pilgrims.”
“In their Report, the Doctors opined that the majority of deaths which have occurred could be due to either high altitude pulmonary Oedema which occurs due to ascent to more than 10,000 feet over a very short period of time or hypothermia, both of which are fatal, once they occur,” the spokesman said. “Of the deaths which have occurred amongst the younger Yatris in the Holy Cave area, the Doctors have pointed to cases of Yatris who, despite suffering from serious ailments and being unfit for high altitude travel, had been able to secure Medical Certificates from Registered Medical Practitioners outside the State. The Doctors have opined that Meghna Gupta, 24 years, of Chandigarh, lost her life probably because of Hypothermia; Kishori Lal Joshi, 27 years, of Gujarat, died probably because of high altitude Pulmonary Oedema; Rajinder Patidar, 30 years, of Madhya Pradesh, probably died of Hypothermia after having holy dip in the ice cold water; Umesh Shah, 39 years, of Punjab, died of sudden cardiac arrest probably due to secondary Myocardial infarction; Shakuntala Prasad, 59 years, of Bihar, was a patient of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), a very high risk ailment for travel, but unfortunately she also had clearance from a Registered Medical Practitioner.”
“It has been further reported that some of the Yatris who reported at the MACs were suffering from serious Cardio Pulmonary ailments, Asthma, COPD, Diabetes, Hypertension, not fit for high altitude travel, but were given clearance for high altitude travel by the RMPs from outside the State.”
In view of the report, the Governor directed the CEO to yet again publicize the Do’s and Don’ts and the Health Advisory for the Yatris issued by the Shrine Board.
The Governor and Health Minister, Sham Lal Sharma, appealed to pilgrims from all parts of the country to get themselves medically checked and obtain Valid Medical Certificates before embarking on the Yatra.
Choudhary has yet again appealed to all those intending pilgrims to undertake the Yatra to the Shrine to most carefully read the Do’s and Don’ts which are printed on the reverse of the Yatra Permit and are also available at the Board’s website before deciding to undertake the Yatra. He urged all the intending pilgrims to take all required precautions and cautioned that no person who has a serious medical ailment, or any breathing, chest or heart problem should think of undertaking this arduous Yatra, which involves climbing upto nearly 14,000 feet.
3 MORE PILGRIMS DIE; TOLL 88
Three pilgrims died en route to the 3,880 metre high cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, taking the death toll in the ongoing yatra to 88, officials said on Thursday.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 19 Jul 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 19 Jul 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 20 Jul 2012 00:00:00 IST
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