Ponies getting health check up, registration and tagging in Sonamarg before Shri Amarnath Yatra 2023

We are entrusted with the task of pony registration including insurance, said officials from the Department of Animal Husbandry at district Ganderbal in Sonamarg. All the ponies, horses get registered, then they move to Baltal where they can work. A health certificate is provided free of cost which is valid for one year. We register around 150-160 ponies in a day. Sometimes the number climbs to 200-300. In a few days as the Amarnath Yatra 2023 gets closer, we can see an increase in numbers. Before we issue a health certificate, we ascertain the age of the ponies by looking at their teeth. We check for the issue of lameness and we make the ponies walk to inspect that. Sometimes pregnant ponies come here for registration. We have a method for checking that as well. The pregnant ponies are not allowed. The ponies get insured and if something happens, the ponywalas get Rs 30,000-40,000 depending on the ponies’ health condition. All the departments, doctors, insurance givers, animal husbandry do their work and we ponywalas do not have to pay anything for registration and health certificate. The DC has made this arrangement for the poor section. Even the ponies get tagged which comes of use during unfortunate incidents. The tag system benefits the travellers as well as the pony walas. When a traveller goes for darshan at the holy cave, they can call the pony wala and look at the tag which shows they travelled on the same pony. The pony walas can get insurance if anything happens to their pony then they can show their registration and health card of the pony, a post mortem is done and then they get their insurance without any hassle. The pony walas say that nothing untoward has happened during the yatra nor should it ever happen with the blessings of Baba Bholenath.

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