To arrest the number of pilgrims dying on South Kashmir Himalayas during Amarnath yatra every year, Jammu Kashmir Governor N N Vohra on Thursday sought cooperation from all state chief ministers and Administrators of Union Territories in the matter by ensuring issuance of “compulsory health certificates” (CHC) only after adequate examination of applicant-pilgrim’s medical status.
In separate letters to all of them, Governor has urged the states to issue specific directions to their Health Departments to ensure that the doctors nominated to issue CHCs to the intending yatris for 2017 Amarnath yatra strictly follow the guidelines issued by the Shrine Board. Keeping in view the challenging high latitude terrain of the yatra area, it is necessary that only such persons embark on the pilgrimage who are fully fit. He also asked the states to ensure that applicants suffering from any medical ailment are not issued the required CHC.
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Pointing out that a significant number of pilgrims lose their lives every year due to heart, lung and other medical failures, Vohra said that post-Yatra review undertaken by the Shrine Board after the every pilgrimage reveals that many lives could have been saved if the doctors or medical institutes nominated by the state or UT governments had issued the required Health Certificate only to the eligible persons.
During 2016 yatra, it had come to the Shrine Board’s notice that persons having serious medical complications and children below 13 years were issued CHCs by the nominated doctors, which enabled such ineligible people also to secure yatra permits from the designated Bank branches, he added.
The Governor drew their attention to the Supreme Court’s Judgment of December 2012 directing the state governments to annually notify a list of doctors or medical institutions who shall be authorized to issue compulsory health certificates on prescribed format, free of cost, to every intending yatri who shall, thereafter, submit the same to the registration centre (one of the designated Bank branches in every state) to obtain advance registration for undertaking the pilgrimage on a specific date by a specified route.
In this context, the Shrine Board has provided guidelines for the authorized doctors and institutions that no person below the age of 13 years or above the age of 75 years or a woman with 6 weeks pregnancy should be issued a CHC. The examining doctor should write his/her ‘MCI registration number’ and ‘name’ and put their stamp at the appropriate places indicated in the CHC and not leave any blank while issuing the Certificate. Further, the authorized doctors and institutions are required to ensure that any applicant who has undergone bypass surgery or has implanted stents is not issued a Certificate.