MUSSOORIE: Death of 27 pilgrims during the Char Dham yatra since it started on May 3 has rattled the Uttarakhand government, prompting the state health department to seek detailed reports on the deaths from chief medical officers (CMOs) of Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag and Chamoli districts, where the four revered shrines are located, officials said.
Director general, health, Shailja Bhatt said she has instructed the chief medical officers of the three districts in Char Dham area that there should be no shortage of health services at any level.
“As per the data compiled till Wednesday, 27 pilgrims have died during Char Dham yatra and I have sought a detailed report on the death of the pilgrims from the respective CMOs in three districts,” Bhatt said.
“We have deployed cardiologists in Char Dham routes, and our doctors are competent enough to deal with emergencies but are faced with limitations as most of the cases are ‘brought dead’ ones,” she added.
Bhatt said one cardiac ambulance unit has been deployed at Uttarkashi while 12 advanced life support system units have been set up along with trained cardiologists on Char Dham yatra routes.
Health officials said over 50 permanent medical units, over 100 temporary units and temporary medical relief posts along with first aid medical research units have been set up along with deployment of 132 doctors on the Char Dham yatra routes.
Meanwhile, at Kedarnath, two deaths were reported on Friday taking the tally to 11 at the shrine. A 62-year-old pilgrim, a resident of Raigarh (Chhattisgarh), who was on his way to Kedarnath shrine from Gaurikund, received a head injury. He was brought to a nearby medical centre at Gaurikund by pilgrims and after first aid, he was airlifted to AIIMS Rishikesh from Sonprayag by the district administration team, said Mayur Dikshit, district magistrate, Rudraprayag.
BK Shukla, chief medical officer Rudraprayag said, “As per the directions of district magistrate, so far 11 pilgrims, out of which 6 received injuries, were airlifted to higher medical centres thus saving their lives in the process.”
Shukla said around 9,356 pilgrims have been treated at the 16 medical units (OPD) out of which 6,683 are males while 2,673 are females. “Apart from these, 13 medical units have been set up on the pedestrian route at Kedarnath and the pilgrims are being advised to stop at every medical representative outpost and go through the examination process for the level of oxygen and pulse and leave only after a rest of 10 minutes,” he added.
Health officials have also appealed to pilgrims to carry warm and woollen clothes with them, avoid smoking and drug abuse, drink water during the journey and not go hungry. The patients suffering from respiratory diseases, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and diseases occurring in the high-altitude areas have been advised to take special precautions as well as to keep their doctor’s consultation form and doctor’s contact number with them.
Meanwhile, offline registration facility was launched by the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) at police outposts Byasi and Bhadrakali near Rishikesh for the convenience of devotees visiting the Char Dham yatra.
On the directions of Ashok Kumar, director-general of police Uttarakhand, the state disaster response force headed by its commandant Manikant Mishra launched the offline registration facility on Thursday morning at Bhadrakali and Byasi.
For Kedarnath and Badrinath, maximum registration has been capped to 2,000 pilgrims per day at Bhadrakali and Byasi with two teams from SDRF to collect information about the vehicles, and the number of pilgrims/passengers, name of the driver, address and mobile numbers during the process.
For Gangotri and Yamunotri the number of pilgrims to be registered has been fixed at 1,000 pilgrims per day. In case the pilgrims’ numbers exceed the daily cap, the pilgrims will be issued an offline pass for the next day and only those pilgrims who have been registered for the yatra will be permitted to go ahead
At Rudraprayag, Sulabh International in charge, Dhananjai Pathak has apprised the district magistrate Rudraprayag that around 212 toilets have been set up between Gaurikund and Kedarnath and considering the heavy rush, 30 more such units have been added on the Kedarnath yatra routes.
“A total of 43 toilets have been constructed between Kund and Sonprayag while 12 toilets have been installed on Chopta-Tunganath Motor Road”, said Pathak.
The number of pilgrims reaching the Char Dham has crossed 3 lakhs.
Meanwhile, the Opposition Congress lashed at the BJP government in the state for the mismanagement of the Char Dham yatra.
Karan Mahra, state Congress president alleged that people are dying on Char Dham routes due to mismanagement of the yatra arrangements. “Over two dozen pilgrims have died. I had said that oxygen parlours should be set up on yatra routes. Our state tourism minister Satpal Maharaj is in Dubai, while pilgrims are dying here. Centre had to take a decision to send National Disaster Management Force (NDRF) and ITBP teams to manage the yatra better. CM Dhami (chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami) and state health minister Dhan Singh Rawat should apologise to the pilgrims”.
Manveer Singh Chuhan, state BJP media in charge said Congress has a habit of making such allegations even when the state government is doing good work. “After two years of Covid impact, unprecedented pilgrim influx is being witnessed in Char Dham yatra. State government is making all possible arrangements for smooth conduct of the yatra”.