Kailash Mansarovar yatra draw held, 960 selectedApril 22nd, 2009 - 1:02 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) As many as 960 people were selected after a computerised draw here Tuesday to undertake the pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar in China later this year in 16 batches of 60 pilgrims each.
Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon conducted the draw for the pilgrimage, applications for which were invited through advertisements in the media.
The yatra is scheduled to begin on June 1, 2009 and will continue till September.
Pilgrims were selected through a transparent, computer-generated, gender-balanced random selection process for a total of 960 slots comprising of 16 batches, with the remaining applicants being put on a standby list, said the external affairs ministry, which organises the annual pilgrimage.
The external affairs ministry has been organising the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra since 1981 under a bilateral agreement with China.
The arrangements for the yatra on the Chinese side are made by the authorities of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
China had agreed to India’s request to increase the size of each batch from 44 to 60 yatris.
“The government is also discussing with the Chinese side issues regarding the improvement of facilities on their side for the Yatra within the constraint of the difficult terrain and inadequacy of infrastructure along the Yatra route,” the ministry said.
“There has been gradual improvement over the years. The Chinese side has conveyed their willingness to provide greater facilitation to pilgrims from India,” it added.