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Government to Take Steps to Improve Amarnath Yatra

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Additional steps will be taken to improve the Amarnath Yatra based on recommendations of the special high-powered committee appointed by the Supreme Court which is likely to submit its report in September, Government on Tuesday told the Rajya Sabha. 

Replying to a calling attention motion on inadequate facilities and safety measures along the Amarnath Yatra route resulting in death of pilgrims, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the government will look into suggestions of early starting of the Yatra, making arrangements for mechanised removal of snow along the route and starting of a ropeway to the Amarnath cave.

There were 93 casualties this year.

Shinde said though the Jammu and Kashmir government and the Shrine Board has control over yatra arrangements, which has seen a quantum increase in number of pilgrims, he would personally look into suggestions made by members and will press upon the state government for implementation.

"The Supreme Court has desired that a Special High Powered Committee may go into the arrangements of the yatra and suggest improvements for the future. The Committee is expected to submit its report by the first week of September, 2012, after which any additional step recommended will be taken for the yatra in the future," Shinde said.

Responding to suggestions made by the members, the Home Minister said, "Jammu and Kashmir government and Shrine Board has control over the yatra arrangements...I will look into things myself. I will inquire about ropeway. The governor has only made an announcement. There was no detailed project report. It is a good suggestion. We will look into it."

To a suggestion made by Balbir Punj (BJP) about the Centre providing subsidy to each pilgrim of the Yatra on the lines of the Haj pilgrimage, Shinde said, "He has made a suggestion. I will look into it."


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