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India to urge China for better facilities to pilgrims

The draw was conducted by Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed. The pilgrimage is scheduled to begin on June 1.

india Updated: May 09, 2006 09:21 IST

India will urge China to provide better infrastructure for pilgrims undertaking the pilgrimage to the sacred Mount Kailash and the Mansarovar lake in Tibet, as the government held a computerised draw to select 960 people who will go on the pilgrimage this year.

The draw was conducted by Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed. The pilgrimage is scheduled to begin on June 1.

Applications for the Kailash Mansarovar yatra, as it is called, had been invited earlier this year through an open advertisement in major national and regional newspapers.

Pilgrims have been selected through a computer-generated, gender-balanced random selection process for a total of 960 slots for 16 batches.

"The government is also discussing with the Chinese side issues regarding the improvement of facilities on their side for the yatra within the constraint of the difficult terrain and the lack of infrastructure along the yatra route," Ahamed told reporters.

During the visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to India in April last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had raised the issue of opening a shorter alternative route for the yatra through Ladakh.

The Chinese side had conveyed their willingness to provide greater facilitation to pilgrims from India.

The pilgrimage has been organised by the External Affairs ministry, in coordination with various state and central government agencies, since 1981 under an arrangement with China.

It is undertaken every year from June to September. The arrangements on the Chinese side are made by the authorities of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

First Published: May 09, 2006 09:21 IST