Vaisho Devi darshan: Shrine board decides on taking yatra booking online completely a day after stampede

On an average 2,000 yatra slips are issued online and 28,000 were issued to pilgrims on arrival daily

Katra town for the yatra to Trikuta Hills stayed deserted on Sunday after witnessing major footfall in the past three days.

Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has decided to make yatra to temple bookings online. The news comes a day after 12 pilgrims lost life in a stampede that occurred on
January 1, when devotees poured in huge numbers.

At present there are two ways one can book their 13 km trek to the shrine via online or after arrival at Katra town. On an average 2,000 yatra slips are issued online and 28,000 were issued to pilgrims on arrival daily. Now the entire process is going online.

J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha who chaired a Board meeting after the stampede ordering a review announced the decision apart from compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased. Also, Rs 10 lakh ex-gratia has been announced on Saturday. Rs 2 lakh was announced for the injured as well with the shrine taking care of the cost of injuries.

Moreover directives have been given for effective crowd management, working out on de-decongestion plans and augmentation of the infrastructure of the way to the shrine and separation of entry exit routes. Sources further revealed to the Indian Express that the board might limit daily pilgrims to the shrine to 25, 000.

Katra town for the yatra to Trikuta Hills stayed deserted on Sunday after witnessing major footfall  in the past three days. The Niharika building complex, a lodging area for pilgrims also wore a deserted look. Only 11,000 pilgrims sought yatra slips  till 1 pm on Sunday and close to 25,000 proceeded to the shrine.

Hoteliers faced cancellations in huge numbers for advance bookings as many called trips or returned without darshan. A three member committee led by Principal Secretary Home Shaleen Kabra formed by the Jammu and Kashmir government visited the stampede area for inspection.

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