Committee constituted to ascertain facts in Vaishno Devi Shrine stampede: MHA

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The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Wednesday informed the parliament that a high level committee had been formed to ascertain the reasons behind the stampede incident at Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine while a series of safety measures have been taken since then including live tracking of pilgrims.

Queries including whether Government has received any inquiry report of stampede at the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in Jammu and Kashmir, in which nearly 12 people died and over a dozen were injured in a stampede on 31st December, 2021 were raised in the ongoing session of parliament.

Besides the details of steps taken or proposed to be taken by Government to develop any system for the hassle free smooth darshan of devotees in the future in the country.

Minister of State (MoS) in the Ministry of Home Affairs responded to the queries in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday in the ongoing session of parliament.

In a written reply to the parliament the MoS informed the parliament that the Government of Jammu and Kashmir has constituted a high level committee headed by Principal Secretary (Home), Govt. of J&K to ascertain the reasons behind the stampede incident at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine. “The Shrine Board has taken several measures to ensure safety of pilgrims, he said.

About the safety measures, he said that Online Yatra Registration to the extent of 80% of the total number allowed for Yatra has been implemented with effect from 05.01.2022.

The MoS said that token System /Group System for releasing the pilgrims in Darshan queues in batches has already been put into practice.

He also said that for effective and Real Time Crowd Management at Bhawan and all along the Track, the RFID based Crowd Management System for live Tracking of the pilgrims has been approved.

“Works such as Yatri Queue Management-at Bhawan and at Bhairon Ji Mandir, Suspension Bridge/Dedicated Exit Route at Bhawan,” the union minister said. “Additional 30 minutes per day has been allotted for normal darshans. Construction of Durga Bhawan, a new structure to accommodate 5000 pilgrims a day to ease the space constraint.”

“Additional CCTV Cameras installed for real time monitoring and management of crowd. Six video walls installed for mass communication and Live Darshans of the sanctum sanctorum,” the minister said. “Additional deployment of JK police personnel and CRPF personnel. Additional Halting points operationalized for holding pilgrims in case of rush situations.”

He also informed that the lockers at Bhawan relocated and shifted to the roof top of Manokamna Bhawan for decongestion of Yatra.

The Union Minister further informed the parliament that ‘Public Order’ and ‘Police’ are State Subjects as per the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. “Thus, the responsibilities of maintaining law and order, rests primarily with the respective State Governments/UT Administrations,”  Rai informed the parliament.

He said that Central Government keeps a constant watch on the situation and responds appropriately to the emergent situations. Among other measures, alerts and advisories are issued from time to time to the States/UTs. (KNO)

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