The Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), which manages the annual yatra to the 3,880 metre high holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, today distributed compensation of more than Rs 14 lakh among 49 owners whose ponies were killed in accidents during this year's yatra.
Governor N N Vohra, who is the Chairman of SASB, gave away cheques valuing Rs 14,70000 to 49 ponywallahs for the loss of their horses or ponies in accidental deaths during the Yatra 2016 at a function held at the Raj Bhavan here, an official spokesman said.
The pony owners were awarded compensation of Rs 30,000 for each pony or horse killed accidentally, he said.
The Governor interacted with the claimants and lauded their cooperation and contribution in facilitating the yatris and making the annual yatra a successful event every year, the spokesman said.
"Ponywallahs are an important part of the pilgrimage," Vohra said and directed Chief Executive Officer of the Board P K Tripathi to ensure that all insurance claims payable to the ponywallahs are settled without any delay.
The Governor said since the Shrine Board decided in 2010 to provide insurance cover to ponies killed in accidents, compensation valuing about Rs 1.69 Crore had been paid in 551 accident cases.
Tripathi said this year over 2.20 lakh yatris paid obeisance at the holy shrine cave and elaborate arrangements were made by the Board with the active support of various departments of the state government, NGOs and the local people, particularly the residents of Ganderbal and Anantnag districts.
The security arrangements were provided by the army, central police organisation and the state police.
For 2016, 10,212 ponies and horses were registered by the Animal and Sheep Husbandry Department for the use of pilgrims, while 4,486 pithoos, 6,952 dandiwallas and 9,034 ponywallas were registered by the Labour and Employment Department for providing service in the yatra.
The Shrine Board has since 2010 been providing 'Group Insurance' of Rs one lakh to all registered yatris and service providers against death resulting from any kind of accident, natural or man-made, during the period commencing from one month ahead of the yatra till one week beyond the date of its conclusion, the spokesman said.
In 2010, an insurance cover of Rs 20,000 was provided to the registered ponies against death resulting from any kind of accident, natural or man-made, he said.
The insurance cover for ponies was enhanced to Rs 25,000 in 2011 and further increased to Rs 30,000 from 2013 onwards.
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