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As the Uttrakhand government commenced Char Dham Yatra from May 3 onwards, a total of 31 pilgrims have lost their lives so far. Uttarakhand Director-General Health Dr Shailija Bhatt told ANI news agency that the pilgrims have died due to high blood pressure, cardiac arrest, and mountain sickness.

"So far 31 pilgrims and one local resident of Badrinath have died in the 12 days since the commencement of the Char Dham Yatra. All of them died due to high blood pressure, heart attack, and mountain sickness," Bhatt said.

Consequently, the state government has started health screening to allow only healthy and fit people to continue the pilgrimage.

The DG further informed that the health screening of the pilgrims is being done at the points created on the travel routes.

Bhatt said, "Health screening of passengers has been started at Rishikesh ISBT registration site. A health screening camp has been set up at Pandukeshwar for the pilgrims of Dobata and Hina and Badrinath Dham on the Yatra route of Yamunotri and Gangotri respectively."

After the health screening, the passengers who are found to have any physical illness, are being advised to rest or go on the journey only after becoming fit for health, she said.

The religious journey began with the opening of Gangotri and Yamunotri portals for devotees on May 3. The famous Lord Shiva shrine, Kedarnath re-opened on May 6 and the doors of Badrinath reopened on May 8.

Separately, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has put an end to VIP darshan in Char Dham. At a meeting with senior officials on Char Dham Yatra, Dhami said considering the heavy influx of devotees, the system of VIP darshan at the Himalayan temples must be brought to an end.

More than three lakh devotees have visited Char Dham since the start of the yatra this year.

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