According to data made public by the state administration, until now over 200 people have lost their lives in Uttarakhand during the ongoing Char Dham Yatra. Elderly pilgrims’ medical conditions are the main causes of death, it was said.
The state government is facing significant difficulties in ensuring the smooth operation of the pilgrimage as a result of heavy rainfall and accompanying landslides.
The yatra was supposed to end in the latter half of October when it began on May 3. There have been around 250,000 pilgrims who have started the journey so far, but the numbers have been falling for the past week.
The state emergency operation centre in Dehradun said that 95 pilgrims have passed away on the Kedarnath yatra route, 51 in Badrinath Dham, 13 in Gangotri, and 42 in Yamunotri.
“For the first time, the department has conducted health screening of passengers at nine places and health advisories are being issued regularly through pamphlets and other means. Pilgrims, especially the elderly, are being made aware of the risks in the yatra”, according to Uttarakhand director general (health), Shailja Bhatt.
She also added that until now 12 doctors have been deployed on Char Dham routes. “Unwell pilgrims are being rushed through Heli-ambulance to higher medical centres for timely treatment in case of emergency. The cause of death so far has been predominantly due to heart-related ailments. Pilgrims with a medical history are being persuaded not to embark on the journey further and an undertaking is being taken from them if they are adamant to continue their journey,” she said.
According to Bhatt, 178 additional doctors have been appointed to 20 temporary health centres along yatra routes, which is an increase of 66% over the 2019 yatra.