After stampede kills 12, Vaishno Devi Shrine yatra booking goes online
After the distressful incident of a stampede at which left 12 dead, the board decided to allow Vaishno Devi Shrine yatra booking via online mode only.
The biggest tragedy to hit the Vaishno Devi cave shrine in Jammu & Kashmir's Reasi district which left 12 pilgrims dead and 14 injured in a stampede a few meters outside the sanctum sanctorum on New Year's Day, has shaken everyone and authorities have moved quickly to make changes in the way the Vaishno Devi Shrine yatra booking is done. A small argument among some young boys during a massive rush of pilgrims on New Year's Day sparked the Vaishno Devi stampede. The day after the stressful incident, the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board on Sunday moved quickly to make changes. It has now ordered that Vaishno Devi Shrine yatra booking will go online. All the Vaishno Devi yatra booking will be done online only.
Right now, the pilgrims completing the 13-kilometer trek to the shrine can acquire their yatra slips either online or when they arrive at Katra town. But with the implementation of this decision, pilgrims will not be able to get their yatra slip offline. While just 2,000 daily yatra slips are distributed online on average, roughly 28,000 are given to pilgrims when they arrive in Katra, Indian Express said, quoting a Shrine Board official.
The decision to shift the Vaishno Devi yatra bookings online was made at a meeting of the Board of Directors chaired by J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, who also announced a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh for each of those who lost their lives in the stampede on Saturday. This comes on top of the Rs. 10 lakh ex-gratia made on Saturday.
On the other hand, Katra town, the yatra's base camp in the Trikuta Hills, was mostly vacant on Sunday. The pilgrims that had gathered outside the Shrine Board's counters near the bus stop and near Trikuta Bhawan, as well as outside the Niharika building complex, which houses rooms and dormitories for pilgrims, had emptied out during the last three days due to the incident.
Following an investigation, a number of regulations were issued for physical and systematic modifications wherever they were needed. The board urged the CEO to take immediate action on a number of fronts, including effective crowd control, infrastructural development, 100 yatra online yatra ticketing, and decongestion plans for the entire track, notably the Bhawan region, as well as separation of entry and departure ways at Bhawan.