Source: India Today
KATRA, INDIA, June 20, 2001: Thousands of people are waiting for their turn at Katra from where the pilgrims assemble to begin their journey to the Vaishno Devi Shrine. This year, summer vacations are producing 40,000-60,000 pilgrims per day. The Shrine Board has the infrastructure to handle issuing passes to only 22 thousand people at a time. The result is delay and hold up for a large number of people on their way to the holy place. Board officials maintain that if more than 22,000 are processed at a given time, there are chances of a stampede taking place. As a result of this limitation, many pilgrims are stuck for twenty-four hours waiting for their turn. They also complain that they are given just three seconds to stand before the Goddess, which is just insufficient.