Immediately deploy adequate medical teams on Amarnath route: SC to J&K
Written by The Indian Express   
Tuesday, 24 July 2012
Two days after it passed a comprehensive order on setting up a panel to ensure safety and well-being of the pilgrims going to the Amarnath cave shrine, the Supreme Court took up the matter again on Monday after it noted that the death toll was increasing by the day.

Underlining that it was “shocked” over the loss of so many lives, the court ordered “immediate” deployment of adequate number of medical teams for pilgrims at all required spots on the route. Against the last year’s toll of 105, this year 97 people have already died during the pilgrimage that started on June 25 and will end on August 2. A Bench of Justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar said that the Jammu and Kashmir government should take assistance of the Centre and the state governments of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab to deploy necessary medical teams along the yatra route.

“Thirteen more deaths happened during the three days after we passed the order. It is shocking. Moreover, it is not that only old people have lost their lives. Some of them are as young as college-going students. We are worried and want to ensure that no more deaths are caused,” said the Bench.

It also asked the high-powered committee, appointed by it on the Friday, to consider removal of the iron gate near the holy shrine after noting that the gate disrupted the darshan (view) inside the holy cave. Stating that the iron gate also caused melting of the ice, the court asked the committee to consider installing a fibre gate.

The Bench had set up the committee to suggest measures “for protecting the interest of the yatris (pilgrims), ensuring proper management and health care”.

“Lack of public amenities, facilities, health care, particularly the high rate of mortality, which has been highlighted in the various press cuttings and in our order dated July 13, 2012, requires attention of all concerned,” the Bench had noted while constituting the committee to be headed by the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.

The committee will present its final report by August 13.

Piramal offers to lay anti-skid track, told to approach SC-appointed panel

Leading healthcare company Piramal Healthcare Ltd has offered to construct an “anti-skid” track to the Amarnath cave from Panchtarni. The offer was made through an application moved before the Supreme Court Bench hearing a PIL related to the death of 97 pilgrims.

The Bench directed the company to approach the committee appointed by it on Friday to ensure safety and well-being of the pilgrims. The committee will then consider the offer in accordance with law and take appropriate decision. Piramal has offered to lay the track, erect and construct shelters on the yatra route in a time-bound manner, without claiming the cost from any government agency. The application said the company had sent a team led by Piramal Systems and Technologies MD Harinder Sikka to study the problems faced by Amarnath pilgrims every year.
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