Language barrier is turning out to be a major hiccup for the health department in the ongoing Chardham yatra while communicating with pilgrims, especially those from the southern states.
According to officials, the Chardham pilgrims are being instructed to get themselves checked for medical fitness at health posts set up along the route. They are also getting advisories regarding the precautions to be taken en route to high-altitude treks.
“Routine health checkups are being conducted for pilgrims to Kedarnath and Badrinath (which require high-altitude trekking) at health posts. However, many people especially those coming from the southern states are not able to understand either Hindi or even English at times. If we inquire about any medical complication, they are unable to communicate,” Uttarakhand director general (health) Dr DS Rawat told Hindustan Times.
“We plan to take help from our staff (hailing from southern states) wherever possible,” a health department official said.
Pilgrims are getting medical checkups and other facilities at over 12 medical relief posts along the Kedarnath trek route. There are over six first medical response posts replete with doctors, pharmacists, technicians and paramedics along the Yamunotri trek, he added.
Garhwal commissioner Vinod Sharma, who is the nodal official looking after the Chardham operations, meanwhile, said all health advisories and important instructions will be translated in English and prominent regional languages. “I’ll ask officials to get advisories and other important information translated in English as well as regional languages for convenience of the pilgrims. We’ll also use social media for the purpose (to circulate and disseminate advisories in different languages),” Sharma said.
The Chardham Yatra - the annual pilgrimage to Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri shrines - began on April 28. Over 5.5 lakh pilgrims have visited Uttarakhand so far. Around 29 deaths were reported on the Chardham route since the commencement of the Yatra, with most of the deaths due to heart attacks or health-related ailments.