Pilgrims who wanted to go for the Amarnath Yatra are feeling the pinch, with the hike in price for the medical examination.
The medical examination which was earlier being conducted at Rs 50 at various government hospitals was raised to Rs 200, earlier this week.
Besides, the pilgrims are harried a lot at Lord Mahavira civil hospital due to shortage of staff to conduct a medical examination.
As the health department has increased the rates for the medical examination for any purpose including the Amarnath Yatra, the pilgrims have demanded from the government that the medical examination fee for the yatra should be decreased.
The pilgrims are already facing problems in getting forms which have finished in most of the listed banks.
When a Hindustan Times reporter visited the Civil Hospital in Ludhiana, people who had came to get their examination said that they had to go back empty-handed as there was insufficient staff to conduct the medical examination.
No special doctor has been deployed at the civil hospital to conduct these medical examinations as there is shortage of staff at the hospital. This is the first time when the health department has to conduct a mandatory medical examination for the Amarnath Yatra as many deaths were reported during the journey last year.
A 20-year-old pilgrim, who had come to the hospital for the medical exam said that he had been waiting for his turn since morning but when his turn finally came, the doctor told him to submit a fee for medical examination which had been increased on the instructions of the health department.
He further claimed that he faced many difficulties to get a form from the listed banks where the forms were not available anymore.
Pilgrims are of the view that an improved system should be put in place by the health department. They (health department) should also deploy special staff to conduct medical examinations of the pilgrims.
The government should keep an affordable fee for the medical examination especially for the Amarnath Yatra.
Vijay Verma, associate executive at Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Chaura Bazaar, said, “We had got 4,950 forms for the Amarnath Yatra. All the forms are finished. The forms may be available at some other banks. The yatra will commence on June 28. After medical examination the person has to submit the filled form at the bank.”
Senior medical officer at the civil hospital Dr RK Karkara said that the rates of medical examination have been recently increased to Rs 200.
Kakra said, “The fee was increased for medical examination only. He further said that they are facing a shortage of staff due to which pilgrims are facing trouble to get their medical examination done.”