Arrangements in place to give immediate medical aid to Chardham pilgrims
Elaborate arrangements are being put in place so that pilgrims visiting the Chardham could be provided prompt medical aid for hypothermia or heart-related problems they might develop while negotiating the tiring uphill trek to the Himalayan shrines of Kedarnath and Yamnotridehradun Updated: Apr 21, 2018 22:12 IST
Elaborate arrangements are being put in place so that pilgrims visiting the Chardham could be provided prompt medical aid for hypothermia or heart-related problems they might develop while negotiating the tiring uphill trek to the Himalayan shrines of Kedarnath and Yamnotri, officials said.
The annual pilgrimage to the Chardham comprising the four fabled Himalayan shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamnotri in Uttarakhand began on April 18.
“Last year, some 39 pilgrims died while trudging up to the twin Himalayan shrines,” Dr Saroj Naithani, chief medical officer (CM), Rudrapryag said, referring to Kedarnath and Yamnotri.
She is supervising medical facilities “being put in place” on the 16 km mountainous trekking route from Gaurikund to the Kedarnth shrine.
“Out of 39 casualties, some died after they fell off mules into the deep gorge while being ferried to the shrine but most of them were lost to the complications like hypothermia and cardiac arrests,” Naithani said. Incidentally, most these deaths took place during the monsoon season.
“Pilgrims died because they suffered from hypothermia as they were caught in the rains. Later, they died of cardiac arrests,” She clarified.
This year elaborate arrangements had been made to ensure that “not a single pilgrim dies” owing to such reasons.
“As part of the arrangement several teams of doctors, specialists, paramedic staff are being deployed on the 16 km trek to Kedarnath,” Naithani said.
Besides, members of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) would be available on the yatra route so that they could immediately shift the patients suffering from cardiac arrests to low altitude areas for an immediate relief.
Some 17 Medical Relief Posts (MRPs) had been set up on the steep trek to the Chardham. Each of these MRPs would be manned by physicians, paramedic staff besides being equipped with medical gadgets like electrocardiograms, glucometers (to check sugar levels in diabetics), blood pressure checking machines and oxygen cylinders etc.
Besides, a list of do’s and don’ts had been put up in all 15 helipads in the Kedarnath area.
“The system is meant for high-end pilgrims who air dash to a high altitude area like Kedarnath without getting time to acclimatise to the rarefied air,” she said.
For the pilgrims trudging up to Kedarnath, the Public Address System (PAS) would be set up so, they could be communicated the do’s and don’ts.
Similar arrangements are being made on a six km trek to the shrine of Yamnotri. “We are not permitting the pilgrims who are obese or suffer from health problems like high blood pressure to trek to the shrine without a proper screening,” Uttarakashi District Magistrate Ashutosh Chauhan said.
Stocks of life saving medicines and facilities like oxygen cylinders “are available with physicians deployed on the trekking route to Yamnotri, so that a prompt medical aid is available to pilgrims in case of emergency”, the official said.
Besides, teams of SDRF and home guards had also been deployed on the yatra route.
“In case of an emergency like pilgrims feeling discomfort or suffering a heart attack those Jawans will rush them to low altitude areas for an immediate relief,” Chauhan said.
“Besides, JCB machines have also been parked on the yatra route so that in case of landslides it could be cleared of debris,” Chauhan added.
ATMs to be filled with cash soon
All cashless ATMs in the fabled religious circuit would be replenished soon to ensure that pilgrims “face no cash crunch” during the ongoing Chardham yatra, tourism minister Satpal Maharaj said.
“There are reports that most ATMs in the Chardham (four shrines) and also on the routes connecting them are cashless… So, cash will be supplied to all the ATMs by helicopters, which will be pressed into service soon,” he said, adding that officials had been issued directions.
A request would soon be put in to the Reserve Bank of India to ensure an early supply of cash to the ATMs in the Chardham.
“Resolving the issue of cashless ATMs is our top priority because pilgrims while travelling by road to the Chardham will have to use cash for payments instead of digital mode of payments like paytms,” said the minister.