Amarnath Board wants more shelter and hospital for yatris



Bangalore: With criticism mounting over rise in causalities of Amarnath yatris, Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravishankar, one of the members of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), today rejected criticisms made against the Board over poor arrangements and asserted that it has made every effort in its capacity.

In a statement here, he said media reports and intellectual bodies have presented "incorrect" pictures as though the SASB, responsible for holding the annual Amarnath pilgrimage, was not providing proper facilities and medical care for the pilgrims.

He appealed everybody not to "politicise" and question the integrity and sincerity of the body.

Expressing pain over the causalities of pilgrims, he said SASB was in touch with all stake holders, including those in Jammu, to make the yatra as smooth as possible and Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Ombar Abdullah and his government have been extending all cooperation.

"The SASB has made every effort in its capacity. The huge amount of effort that has gone in building more toilets, facilities for hygiene and to take care of the ecology and the environment should not be overlooked", he said.

Ravishankar suggested construction of concrete structure or a structure carved into the rock/hill which could withstand extreme weather conditions and provide better medical facility for the yatris be created.

There was also a need for a well-equipped hospital at the base camp in Balta. All that we would require was for the Forest Department to clear this piece of land to build the shelters on the way to the shrine, for the army to widen the tracks and required funds need to be sanctioned either by the State or the Centre, he said.

PTI