Health before religion! Gujarat makes fitness certificate mandatory for Amarnath pilgrims

Health before religion

From now onwards those who plan to undertake annual Amarnath pilgrimage from Gujarat will have to obtain physical fitness certificate from government hospitals before registering for the Yatra.

"After the Supreme Court expressed serious concerns over increasing number of deaths en route to Amarnath pilgrimage, Gujarat government has decided to make it

mandatory for every pilgrims from the state to carry physical fitness certificate," state Finance Minister Nitin Patel told reporters here today.

The state government issued a notification in this regard too, he added.

In July last year the apex court, while expressing shock over the growing number of deaths during the Yatra, had taken suo motu note of the deaths which allegedly occurred due to lack of proper facilities and medical care for them.

"In this connection, Gujarat Government wants to make sure that only those persons, who are healthy enough for the tough Amarnath Yatra, embarks on it," Patel said.

As per the notification, people intending to go on Amarnath pilgrimage has to get a 'no objection certificate' (NOC), after a physical fitness check-up, from the Government hospitals.

"The state government will provide full medical check-up and treatment facility at every government hospitals and health centers," said Patel.

"Only on the basis of the NOC Amarnath pilgrims can\ register themselves with Jammu and Kashmir government for their Yatra," he added.

"Gujarat government has also decided to send a full medical teams with specialist doctors to Amarnath as requested by J&K government," the minister said.

Amarnath Yatra is an annual pilgrimage made to the cave shrine by lakhs of devotees on challenging mountainous terrain in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Over 90 persons had died during last years' pilgrimage to Amarnath, situated at 13,500 feet.

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