The Supreme Court-appointed special high-powered committee (SHPC) on improving the living and travel conditions at the Amarnath shrine has recommended health certification from authorised officers mandatory for every pilgrim.
Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman submitted the committee’s report before a bench of justice BS Chauhan and said the committee wanted the Union health ministry to facilitate appropriate training of doctors and paramedics deployed along the stretch.
The committee said the pilgrims should not be allowed to undertake the yatra without a permit and a fitness certificate from a registered medical practitioner should be made mandatory for a person to be able to seek a registration.
“An expert medical committee should review the format of the existing compulsory health certificate... that the certificate should be issued by the chief medical officer/ medical superintendent/ block medical officer/government doctors, authorised by the state health authorities,” the SHPC's recommendations stated.
It further said that the ministry should ask experienced specialists to advise state health authorities. Citing statistics, the committee said medical reasons were the primary cause of death of pilgrims on way to the shrine. The other reasons included non-acclimatisation, lack of proper clothing and footwear, religious practices such as bathing with ice-cold water and the profile of yatris that included aged pilgrims.