Admitting that people are embarking on the Amarnath Yatra with fake certificates, Kashmir health director Saleem-ur-Rehman has asked pilgrims to follow the dos and don'ts seriously.
"Yes, people have come with fake medical certificates. We appeal to people to acclimatise before embarking for upper reaches to reach the shrine. Do not ignore minor symptoms. We have 600 oxygen cylinders working round the clock on two routes. Please make use of them to avoid any fatality," said Rehman.
"Pilgrims procure fake health certificates and then take the non-traditional route of Baltal, exposing themselves to a very steep climb without acclimatisation," said Upendra Kaul, executive director and head cardiology, Fortis group of hospitals, and also a Padma Shri awardee.
The traditional route in the Pahalgam-Chandanwari area of south Kashmir is a three to four days of trek. According to cardiologist Upendra Kaul, on the traditional route, a pilgrim would spend three nights before reaching the shrine, helping him to acclimatise. The non-traditional route of Sonamarg-Baltal is a daylong trek, exposing pilgrims to very steep climb without acclimatisation," said Kaul in Srinagar.
The shrine, which houses an ice lingam (stalagmite) at a height of 3,880 metres, is approached from two areas of Pahalgam and Sonamarg in south and north-east of Srinagar respectively. It's 42-km trek from the Pahalgam base camp and 12 km trek from the Baltal base camp.Meanwhile, Kashmiri Pandit Sangarash Samiti chief Sanjay Tickoo has accused the authorities of poor coordination, resulting in deaths. "How can so many unregistered yatris reach to the shrine without being detected? The authorities in Jammu should check unregistered pilgrims," said Tickoo.