Srinagar, Oct. 26: The Jammu and Kashmir Government has distributed insurance claim cheques to owners of horses or ponies that died during this year’s Amarnath Yatra.
State Governor N.N. Vohra gave away cheques worth 30,000 rupees to about 80 pony owners who had lost their horses and ponies during the pilgrimage.
Vohra’s Principal Secretary Navin Kumar Choudhary said the horse and pony owners had been registered and an insurance cover is provided so that they can be compensated in an event of the death of their animals during the Amarnath Yatra.
“For the pony owners, the pony is the only means of earning their bread and butter. If a pony dies in an accident, or due to any other reason, then his only source of income is destroyed. Therefore, as per the orders of the Governor, along with the Animal Husbandry Department, we get the pony owners properly registered and insurance is done. We have distributed a relief insurance amount of 30,000 rupees to each of the pony owners who lost their ponies during the pilgrimage,” he said.
Mudasir Khan, a local pony owner, said the pilgrimage is a good source of income for them, but added that in case of the death of the pony, their ivelihood gets affected.
“We provide our services to the pilgrims who go on the pilgrimage. In the pilgrimage, sometimes, our pony dies in an accident causing us huge loss. We buy ponies for 20000 rupees. We are poor and in order to make money, we go to pilgrimage to the holy Hindu shrine of Amarnath. But when our pony dies, we have no means of livelihood left. Therefore, we come here to take the relief amount,” he said.
Thousands of pilgrims undertake this journey to the cave shrine of Amarnath, located at a snow-capped mountainous peak of the Himalayas.
Despite hostile and inclement weather, records are broken year after year as far as the number of pilgrims as evident from the number of pilgrims increasing with each passing year.
However, pilgrims have often called on inadequate facilities and safety measures along the Amarnath pilgrimage route resulting in death of pilgrims and ponies.
There were 93 casualties this year.
This annual pilgrimage commences on June 25 every year and concludes on Raksha Bandhan, Hindu sibling festival, usually in August. (ANI)