Governor distributes over Rs.28 lakh compensation to pony owners



SRINAGAR: At a function held at the Raj Bhavan here yesterday, cheques amounting to over Rs. 28 lakh were handed over to the owners of ponies/horses which were involved in accidental deaths during the Shri Amarnathji Yatra held earlier this year.
The Governor, who is the Chairman of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), gave away cheques valuing Rs.28.65 lakh to ponywallahs for the loss of their horses/ponies in accidental deaths during the Shri Amarnathji Yatra 2014. 94 owners were awarded compensation at Rs. 30,000 for each pony/ horse lost while two owners were given Rs.22,500 each.
The Governor interacted with the claimants and lauded their cooperation and contribution in facilitating the Yatris and making the annual Shri Amarnathji Yatra a successful event every year. On the suggestion of Mian Altaf, Minister for Forest, Environment and Ecology, the Governor asked Mr. Rakesh Kumar Gupta, CEO of the Shrine Board, to take up with the Insurance Company the possibility of disease related deaths of ponies and horses being also brought under the insurance cover.
Mian Altaf Ahmad said that the provision of insurance cover for the ponies/horses in case of their accidental deaths during the Yatra is an extremely laudable welfare measure and provides strong relief to the economically weaker sections of the society whose animals get killed in accidents. He thanked the Governor for taking keen interest for promoting the welfare of the pony/horse owners and observed that various aspects of the Yatra had been most beneficially streamlined by the Shrine Board and this had resulted in bringing about tremendous improvement in the management of Shri Amarnathji Yatra, particularly in the past four years, benefiting the Yatris as well as all the stakeholders and the people who earn their livelihood from this annual pilgrimage. Referring to the laudable measures taken by the Shrine Board for ensuring cleanliness and the protection of environment of the entire Yatra area, the Minister observed that it should be our endeavour to bring about further improvements in the Yatra management, wherever required, to facilitate the visiting Yatris.
Mr. Nazir Ahmad Khan (Gurezi), Minister of State for Animal and Sheep Husbandry, thanked the Governor for taking laudable the initiative of putting in place the provision of insurance cover, launched with the support of the State Government, for compensating the loss suffered by the pony/horse owners on account of the accidental deaths of their animals during the Yatra, benefiting the poor ponywallahs. He put forth several suggestions for bringing about progressive improvements in the management of the Yatra and thanked the Governor and the management of the Shrine Board for the very propmt settlement of the insurance claims of the ponywallahs.
Mr. Rafi Ahmad Mir, MLA, Pahalgam, thanked the Governor for appreciating the losses suffered by the pony/horse owners due to the accidental deaths of their animals during Shri Amarnathji Yatra and for the mechanism devised to compensate their losses by providing insurance cover to their animals. Putting forth various suggestions for bringing about continuing improvements in the management of the Yatra, he said that considerable economic benefits flow to the local population from this pilgrimage.
Mr.Rakesh K. Gupta, Principal Secretary to the Governor and the CEO of the Shrine Board, said that ponywallahs are an important part of the Yatra and the Governor had issued directions to get their insurance claims settled most expeditiously every year. The CEO stated that the Governor had directed him to ensure all remainder insurance claims of the ponywallahs are settled without any delay. He said that the collective efforts of every one had resulted in the smooth conduct of the pilgrimage and the Governor had, at the Post-Yatra Review Meeting, particularly thanked and complimented Mian Altaf Ahmad, Minister for Forests and Environment; Mr. Nazir Ahmad Khan (Gurezi), Minister of State for Animal and Sheep Husbandry; Mr. Rafi Ahmad Mir, MLA Pahalgam; the Deputy Commissioners of Anantnag and Ganderbal, and their concerned officers, all the stakeholders and the people at large for their commitment for ensuring a smooth Yatra.
Mr. Preet Pal Singh, Additional CEO of the Shrine Board, gave details of the insurance claims of the pony/horse owners who were presented insurance claim cheques.
Mr. Tasaduq Jeelani, Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag; Mr. M.R. Gassi, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ganderbal; Dr. Shamas-ud-Din Makhdoomi, Director, Animal Husbandry Department, Kashmir; Dr. Ghulam Qadir Shah, Chief Animal Husbandry Officer, Ganderbal; Dr. Tahir Hussain Beig, Chief Animal Husbandry Officer, Anantnag; and several other officers and pony/horse owners were present on the occasion.

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