The Supreme Court on Friday set up a high-powered committee to recommend measures to prevent the rising deaths of Amarnath pilgrims, saying that it had become a permanent problem.
A bench of justices BS Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar formed the committee comprising senior officials of the Centre, Jammu and Kashmir government, various security forces and Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).
It directed the committee members to visit the shrine and submit a report to it by August 10 following which it would take up the report on August 13. The court passed the order after taking suo motu note of media reports of pilgrims' deaths allegedly due to lack of proper facilities and medical care.
"It has become a regular affair and a permanent problem. We want a committee of responsible officers to look into it. Lakhs of people go there and there are innumerable deaths. Passages are very narrow and people fall down and die (sic)," the bench observed.
Pointing out the lack of facilities for pilgrims en route and around the holy cave of Amarnath, the bench said pilgrims had to bear harsh climatic conditions for days without any amenities and proper medical care.
The committee will comprise secretaries of various departments including those from the ministry of environment and forest, home affairs, health and child welfare, besides the chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir government.