A day after 12 pilgrims were killed and 16 others were injured in a stampede at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha, announced that online bookings were among the systematic improvements being made for the safety of the devotees.
After chairing a meeting of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Sinha said that a number of steps have been taken to ensure the safety of pilgrims:
"Several decisions have been taken to ensure safety of pilgrims. Besides Rs 10 lakh announced as an ex-gratia, additional amount of Rs 5 lakh to be given to the next of kin of the pilgrims who lost their lives in the unfortunate tragic incident. Directions issued for physical and systematic improvements wherever required after critical examination, augmentation of infrastructure, online booking to be made 100%."
"Steps including decongestion of the entire track, appropriate use of technology for effective crowd and queue management, RFID Tracking to be put in place. Members of the Board to monitor the implementation," his office said in a series of tweets.
Meanwhile, a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the stampede at the shrine.
The J&K Government has invited the people to share facts, statements, or electronic evidence regarding the incident that took place on New Year Day.
According to officials, the stampede was triggered by the heavy influx of devotees on New Year's, and occurred outside the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine.
Over 27,000 pilgrims had visited the cave shrine in Katra on Saturday, while over 15,000 visited on Sunday till 6 pm, news agency PTI reported, citing officials.