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8 Hemkund pilgrims die of oxygen scarcity

Dehra Dun, July 15
As many as eight Sikh pilgrims, mostly from Punjab, have died so far due to lack of oxygen and related problems during the Hemkund Yatra which began on June 1.

Except for a youth who died of a cardiac arrest, all others died due to breathlessness and problems related to asthma, Joshimath sub-divisional magistrate Nidhi Yadav said.

However, the Hemkund Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee claimed that the toll stood at 12.

All deaths occurred during the steep ascent from Ghangaria to Hemkund, which is situated at a height of 4,329 metres above the sea level in the Garhwal Himalayas. Ever since the yatra began, nearly one lakh pilgrims, mostly from Punjab, have visited the shrine.

Although the Hemkund Gurudwara Prabhandhak Committee has stationed two doctors at places like Ghangaria and Govindghat en route, officials here suggest that pilgrims above the age of 50 must carry oxygen with them. PTI

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