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CHARDHAM YATRA TO BEGIN FROM TOMORROW

Published Sep 17, 2021, 1:56 pm IST | Updated Sep 17, 2021, 1:59 pm IST

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami today announced that the Chardham Yatra will begin from tomorrow.

The Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday vacated its stay on the Chardham Yatra. Yatra to begin from Tomorrow
The Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday vacated its stay on the Chardham Yatra. Yatra to begin from Tomorrow

 

New Delhi: Earlier, the Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday vacated its stay on the Chardham Yatra and administered the state government to manage the pilgrimage with strict conformity to COVID-19 norms. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami today announced that the Chardham Yatra would begin from tomorrow. 

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Guidelines passed were as follows -

  •  Lifting the ban on the yatra, a division bench of the court comprising Chief Justice RS Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma said the pilgrimage will start with restrictions like a daily limit on the number of devotees visiting the temples.
  • Carrying a negative Covid test report and a vaccination certificate will also be mandatory for the visitors, the court said.
  • Putting a daily cap on the number of devotees visiting the famous Himalayan temples also known as the Chardham, the high court said 800 pilgrims would be allowed in Kedarnath Dham, 1200 in Badrinath Dham, 600 in Gangotri, and 400 in Yamunotri every day.
  • Pilgrims will not be allowed to take a bath in any of the springs around the temples, it said.
  • The police force will be deployed as per requirements during the Char Dham Yatra in Chamoli, Rudraprayag, and Uttarkashi districts.

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The court order comes as a big relief to the state government which was under pressure from various quarters to start the pilgrimage with which the livelihoods of lakhs of people including travel agents and pilgrimage priests are linked. The plans addressed were to open up the yatra in a proper manner for pilgrims from outside the state depending on the Covid situation. The Covid situation being uncertain, the court on June 28 put a stay on the state Cabinet's decision to start the Chardham Yatra in a limited way for the residents of Chamoli, Rudraprayag, and Uttarkashi districts where the temples are located.


The state government then called their approach to the Supreme Court to vacate the high court's stay on the yatra. As the matter was pending in the Apex court, the high court was not in a position to hear the state government's plea seeking lifting of the ban.

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However, it recently withdrew its SLP in the Supreme Court concreting the way for the high court to hear its plea. Advocate General SN Babulkar and Chief Standing Advocate CS Rawat, appearing for the government, demanded that the ban be removed to restore the livelihood of the local people.


The advocate general further pleaded that the initial trouble of the Court while striking the ban has been addressed and there has been a significant improvement in health services. The advocate general said there is an earning period of the Chardham Yatra and if the season passes, many families will suffer huge losses.

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In June, the high court had stayed the Chardham Yatra till further orders, while hearing public interest litigations (PIL) related to the increase in Covid cases, lack of health facilities, and other factors. The government also guaranteed the Court that there will be strict adherence to the COVID-19 SOP for the Yatra. Against this order, the state government had filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court, which could not be heard.


Advocate General SN Babulkar and CSC Chandrashekhar Rawat had recently requested a bench headed by Chief Justice RS Chauhan to lift the travel ban, but the court refused to consider it, citing the SLP pending before the Supreme Court. The government withdrew the SLP from the Supreme Court and apprised the high court, after which the high court heard the matter.
 

ROZANA SPOKESMAN

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