Vaishno Devi yatra to resume on Aug 16 with ceiling of 2000 pilgrims

Staff and security personnel wait for their turn for COVID-19 testing at Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan on Friday. -Excelsior/Romesh Mengi
Staff and security personnel wait for their turn for COVID-19 testing at Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan on Friday. -Excelsior/Romesh Mengi

*6 from GMC, SMGS hospitals among 119 test +ve

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Aug 14: Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board today decided to go ahead with pilgrimage from August 16 but curtailed the daily number of pilgrims to be allowed for darshan from initially decided 5000 to 2000 per day including 1900 from within J&K and 100 from outside the Union Territory.
Meanwhile, six persons from the Government Medical College (GMC) and SMGS hospital including a Registrar in Gynecology Department, one Nurse and four Attendants, five more SSB jawans from Bawa Talab near Kanachak and three members of a family in Muthi were among 119 persons who tested positive for Coronavirus in Jammu region while 204 patients were treated and discharged from various hospitals.
“During first week of resumption of pilgrimage i.e. August 16 there will be a ceiling of 2000 pilgrims per day including 1900 from J&K and 100 from outside. Pilgrims will be allowed registration through online mode only to avoid rush at Yatra Registration Counters,’’ CEO SMVDSB Ramesh Kumar told the Excelsior.
Kumar said the helicopters and battery cars will operate with four passengers only. The Passenger Ropeway from Bhawan to Bhairon Ghati and back will also be operational,
The Yatra will move in a unidirectional manner i.e. the pilgrims will be allowed to proceed to Bhawan from Katra via traditional route of Katra-Banganga-Adhkuwari and Sanjichat and will return from Himkoti-Tarakote Marg.
Kumar said the Shrine Board has advised the children below 10 years, pregnant women, persons with co-morbidities and citizens above the age of 60 to avoid yatra in their own interest and safety from the virus. However, he added, as and when the situation improves, the advisory on this front will be reviewed.
All COVID control management measures like use of masks and installation of Aarogya Setu App will be mandatory for the pilgrims who will be scanned by way of Thermal Image Scanner at the yatra entry points.
The COVID-19 negative test report of the pilgrims from outside J&K and also from Red Zone districts of J&K will be checked at the helipad and the yatra entry points like Darshani Deodi, Banganga and Katra. Only those with negative reports will be allowed to move towards the Bhawan.
However, Ponies, Pithus and Palkis will not be allowed to ply on the tracks.
“Atka Aarti area/ Shradha Suman Vishesh Pooja will not be allowed till further orders. The pilgrims will have to maintain social distancing in queues. The cloakroom will be opened for the pilgrims but blanket stores will remain closed. All these measures will be reviewed every fortnight,’’ the CEO SMVDSB said.
The Shrine Board has launched massive sanitization campaign from Katra to Bhawan. The CEO reviewed the sanitization campaign and other facilities for the resumption of yatra today.
The people have appreciated the Shrine Board decision to resume the yatra which was suspended on March 18 following lockdown and breakout of Coronavirus pandemic with ceiling of 2000 per day.
Meanwhile, 67 persons including 41 with no travel history tested positive for COVID-19 in Jammu district today.
Six COVID warriors were testing positive for the virus in GMC and SMGS Hospitals Jammu. They include a Registrar in Gynecology Department of SMGS hospital, hailing from Gandhi Nagar, a Nurse and an Attendant (Nursing Orderly) in Emergency Wing of the GMC Jammu and three attendants in Krishna Diagnostic Lab in the GMC which runs in PPP mode.
GMC Jammu Medical Superintendent Dr Dara Singh said the frontline workers have been shifted to hospital and their contact tracing is on.
Five more SSB jawans of 71st battalion of SSB deployed at Bawa Talab near Kanachak also tested positive today. Ten jawans of the same battalion had earlier reported positive. SHO Kanachak Inspector Ravi Singh Parihar visited the spot. The infected jawans have been shifted to COVID facility.
Three members of a family from Muthi and one police personnel from the District Police Lines (DPL) Jammu also reported positive today.
A number of para-military personnel reported positive in Jammu district.
Other positives of Jammu district hailed from Rehari, Narwal, Gandhi Nagar, Channi, Bahu Fort, Miran Sahib, New Plots, Akhnoor, Greater Kailash, Subash Nagar, Bhagwati Nagar, Ratno Chak, Rajpura, RS Pura, Bakshi Nagar, Gandhi Nagar, Nanak Nagar, Digiana and Gangyal.
Nine persons today tested Corona positive in Kathua district, eight each in Udhampur and Reasi, six in Poonch, five in Samba and four each in Rajouri, Ramban, Doda and Kishtwar districts.
As many as 204 Corona patients were today discharged from various COVID hospitals in Jammu region after testing negative.
In the Union Territory of Ladakh, 30 more Corona cases were today reported, 24 in Leh and six in Kargil district.


Rs 25 lakh ex-gratia for kin of health workers

In a significant decision, the J&K Government today decided to pay ex-gratia of Rs 25 lakh to kin of health care providers or community health workers if they died due to COVID-19.
This Rs 25 lakh ex-gratia will be in addition to insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh for health care workers approved by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Thus, in case of death of health care providers due to COVID-19, their kin will get a total amount of Rs 75 lakh.
“It is hereby ordered that an ex-gratia of Rs 25 lakh only, shall be payable to the dependent members/legal heirs of those Health care workers, including community health workers who may lose their lives as a result of being in direct contact and care of COVID-19 patients and who may be at risk of being impacted by this disease,” said an order issued today by Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education Department, J&K, Atal Dulloo.
As per the order, the classification of Health care workers for the purpose of ex-gratia shall be the same as provided by Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare under the “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package: Insurance Scheme for Health Workers fighting COVID-19”.
The order shall remain in force till the validity of Pradhan Mantri Kalyan Package Insurance Scheme announced by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, under which the Health care providers, including community health workers, who may have to be in direct contact and care of COVID-19 patients and who may be at risk of being impacted by this pandemic will get an insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh.
The matter regarding providing of ex-gratia to the Health care workers, in addition to the Insurance cover under “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package”, in Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir was discussed in a meeting chaired by LG of J&K on August 8 and accordingly a proposal to provide additional ex-gratia of Rs 25 lakh was submitted to LG, which finally approved the proposal.