Governor N.N. Vohra, Chairman of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), reviewed with Sh. Umang Narula, CEO of the Board issues relating to pilgrims injured or killed since the beginning of the Yatra.
CEO informed Chairman that during 29th June – 16th July, 19 pilgrims had died due to medical reasons and 20 pilgrims had been killed in accidents. And recently, on 10th July, 8 pilgrims had been killed in a terrorist attack on the bus in which they were travelling. CEO stated that, in view of the circumstances leading to the killing of pilgrims in this terror attack, a conscious decision had been taken to enhance the scale of ex-gratia relief paid to the next of their kin.
He further stated that, as per Chairman’s directions, CEO had ensured that all costs for sending the mortal remains by air to the home towns of the pilgrims, in whatever circumstances they had died, were borne by the Shrine Board; in 37 cases the Board had also borne the cost of providing an escort / attendant to deliver the coffin to the deceased pilgrim’s home town. Till today, the Board had incurred Rs. 14,66,975 on account of transportation costs and Rs.1,34,75,000 towards payment of ex-gratia relief.
As regard the 16 pilgrims killed on 16th July, in an accident near Banihal, when an SRTC bus went into a Khud, CEO informed that, as earlier decided by the Chairman, the coffins of the killed pilgrims, alongwith the escorting attendants, had been sent to their home towns yesterday by Air India and Indigo flights.
As earlier discussed by CEO with Governor, besides attendants from among pilgrims, J&K Police personnel have also been deputed to accompany the dead bodies. The mortal remains of 12 deceased Yatris were transported by air to the nearest airports in the States of Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, from where the coffins are being transported in ambulances to their native places.
The coffins of 3 killed pilgrims were transported in Ambulances to Sikar (Rajasthan), Panipat (Haryana) and R.S. Pura (Jammu). The mortal remains of one deceased female Yatri, Smt Chaya Devi, wife of Shri Vijay Chourasiya Singh, resident of Bihar, have been kept in the mortuary at Jammu as her husband and son, both of whom had got injured in the Ramsoo road accident, are still undergoing medical treatment at Jammu.