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HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

Uttarakhand flood scare grips Amarnath pilgrims

Himabindu Reddy, Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, June 26, 2013
First Published: 01:53 IST(26/6/2013) | Last Updated: 01:54 IST(26/6/2013)

The horrific flash floods in Uttarakhand have spread panic among pilgrims as the number of registrations for the Amarnath Yatra, likely to begin on June 28 in Jammu and Kashmir, has dropped considerably.

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According to travel agencies in the city, the number of registrations has decreased by 30% as passengers are wary of the travel conditions.

“Till the first week of June, all seats were booked. I had to even turn some bookings down. But after the Uttarakhand floods, the numbers have reduced by nearly 30%. More than 5% have also cancelled their trips as their families are not allowing them to go,” said Sunil Hans, owner of Perfect Solutions Travel Agency in New Colony, Old Gurgaon.

Registrations had begun on March 18 for the Amarnath Yatra that begins in June.

Apart from cancellations and a drop in response, passengers already enrolled for the trip have been shooting questions regarding safety and weather conditions.

“The Uttarakhand flood tragedy has instilled fear among Amarnath Yatra pilgrims. Earlier, the yatra faced terror threats but the fear quotient has increased this time with unpredictable weather conditions,” said Dheeraj Jain, owner of Skyhigh Travels and Tours in Sadar Bazar, Old Gurgaon.

The Civil Hospital in Gurgaon, which is the only hospital that issues a mandatory medical certificate to pilgrims for the Amarnath Yatra, has put the number of registrations at 1,560.

“This year onwards, no private hospital is authorised to issue a medical certificate that certifies a pilgrim’s fitness. When people come to us for it, they do ask us about safety concerns and measures to be taken if disaster strikes,” said Dr Rathi, one of the orthopedics deputed to certify passengers’ fitness.


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