Giving boost to health care facilities to the ongoing Chardham yatra, All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Rishikesh along with an NGO will set up medical camps at all the four shrines. The camps will focus specially on pilgrims with cardiac and respiratory ailments.
“We will be setting up health camps at all the shrines which will be equipped to treat patients with heart problems as most people die due to heart attacks at such a high altitude. All doctors working in the camps would be from AIIMS and the infrastructural set up will be done by the NGO,” said Harish Mohan Thapliyal, public relations officer (PRO) of AIIMS, Rishikesh.
Thapliyal said an MoU has been signed between AIIMS, Rishikesh and Six Sigma High Altitude Medical Services, an NGO, for this programme. “The intellectual property would be of AIIMS. The NGO would help in setting up the camp along with the medical equipments,” said the PRO.
In 2018, 32 people died due to cardiac issues on their way to the Badrinath, said officials at the Chamoli police control room. For Kedarnath, the toll was at 54, out of which 35 people died due to heart attacks while reaching the shrine, said Rudraprayag district disaster management officer (DDMO).
The details for Gangotri and Yamunotri could not be accessed till the filing of this report.
On Wednesday, a 64-year-old resident of Hyderabad died due to heart failure at Yamunotri. Officials at the Chardham yatra control room said the death toll has already reached to three this year.
DDMO of Rudraprayag Harish Sharma said health camps have already been set up at Kedarnath shrine with 84 doctors available to cater to patients over the period of six months of the yatra season.
BD Singh, chief executive officer of Badri-Kedar Temple Committee, said, “Health camps have also been set up locally at Badrinath and Kedarnath, but doctors from AIIMS also keep visiting. Ideally pilgrims should stop at different places instead of directly reaching the shrine as that turns out to be fatal due to the air pressure at such high altitude.”
Meanwhile, thousands braved biting cold to visit Kedarnath on Thursday morning as portals of the Himalayan shrine were reopened for devotees after the six-month winter break.
The chief priest of the shrine Rawal Bhimashankar Ling opened the gates of the temple at 5.35 am amid chanting of vedic hymns after conducting all rituals.
Several distinguished people, including Governor Baby Rani Maurya, were among thousands of pilgrims who thronged the shrine on the opening day.