Char Dham Shrine Management Bill Passed in Uttarakhand Assembly
The Assembly also accepted a suggestion made by Badrinath MLA Mahendra Bhatt that the word 'shrine' in the name of the legislation be replaced with 'Devasthan'.
Image for representation.
Dehradun: The state assembly on Tuesday passed the Uttarakhand Char Dham Shrine Management Bill, paving the way for the creation of a board to run the affairs of 51 temples across the state, including the four famous Himalayan shrines.
Though the Assembly passed the Bill turning down the opposition's demand for referring it to a standing committee of the House to "remove its flaws", the state government assured teerth purohits that their interests and all traditions associated with the temples under the jurisdiction of the board will be protected.
The Assembly also accepted a suggestion made by Badrinath MLA Mahendra Bhatt that the word "shrine" in the name of the legislation be replaced with "Devasthan".
The statement of objects and reasons of the Bill says creation of the body will be a "milestone for the rejuvenation of Shri Badrinath, Shri Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri and other famous temples located in the state."
Stating the objective of the bill in the assembly, Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj said the "creation of a board like this was necessary for better management of the temples" where more and more pilgrims from all over the country and abroad are coming to offer prayers.
"A total of 32.40 lakh devotees visited the char dham this year and the number is likely to go up in the coming years. We need to create adequate infrastructure around the temples for them," he said, adding the purpose behind the legislation was "purely administrative".
He also sought to allay apprehensions expressed by the opposition about likely misappropriation of donations made by devotees at the temples saying all donations will be spent only on the development of the temples. The opposition Congress was strongly opposing the legislation saying it was flawed and went against the interest of teeth-purohits.
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