By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 28 May: Tourism Secretary Dilip Jawalkar today appealed to the pilgrims wanting to undertake the Chardham Yatra, to plan their pilgrimage in a staggered manner, and also acclimatise themselves before embarking for higher hills. It may be recalled that uncontrolled crowds and large number of deaths of pilgrims has worried the government. So far more than a hundred pilgrims have died during Char Dham journey in the first 26 days of the Yatra itself, most of them due to heart failures. Most of the deaths have occurred in Kedarnath and Yamunotri Dhams which are most difficult terrains.
Addressing the media persons at Uttarakhand Tourism and Development Board office in Dehradun today, Jawalkar said due to better roads and easy availability of private vehicles, the total duration of the yatra had reduced leaving little time for the pilgrims to acclimatise themselves. This was leading to health complications during the Yatra for certain pilgrims.
He reminded that earlier, the yatra was done mostly through public transport and used to be a minimum of nine days travel. Now the pilgrims were coming in private vehicles and due to good roads, the movement was swift and thus the pilgrims were getting little time to acclimatise themselves, which adversely affected their health. Jawalkar appealed to the pilgrims to travel in a staggered manner.
Jawalkar also specifically pointed out that the Chardham Yatra was not just a one-month affair like the Amarnath yatra, but stretched over six to seven months, and appealed to the pilgrims to plan their yatra accordingly, and that there was no need to rush through the Yatra. He was referring to the unduly huge crowds at the Char Dham Yatra shrines this season.
The Tourism Secretary observed that it was generally seen that 70-75 percent of the pilgrims coming for Chardham Yatra in Uttarakhand were coming in the first two months and thereafter rush was less in the later months. He added that it was better for both pilgrims and the administration if the arrivals were evenly distributed throughout the Chardham Yatra season.
The Tourism Secretary claimed that the tourism department had taken strong note of some isolated cases of certain pilgrims resorting to alteration or manipulation in their registration pass. In light of the same, the process was being altered a little and now after registration, the QR code of the online pass was being scanned to ensure that the passes were genuine. He also mentioned that as of today, there were confirmed registrations totalling 2,250,000 valid till 3 June, 2022.
Jawalkar also took the opportunity to caution the pilgrims regarding the fraudulent sale of online tickets. He said that the pilgrims ought to not fall into the trap and ensure that they got their hall tickets online only through official portals.
ADM Arvind Pandey and UTDB’s Additional Director of Tourism Vivek Singh Chauhan were also present at the news conference.