Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has said a decision on the Kanwar yatra will be taken in a day or two. Kanwar Yatra was suspended last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"As you are aware Covid has upset everything. Our effort at the moment is to somehow begin the Char Dham Yatra. A decision on Kanwar Yatra is likely in a day or two," Dhami told reporters in Haridwar on Wednesday. The chief minister, who took over on Sunday, last visited Haridwar on Wednesday to perform a puja and take the blessings of saints and seers.
An inter-state coordination meeting of police officials here recently suggested that the Kanwar Yatra should remain suspended for the time being in view of a possible third wave of COVID-19. One of the suggestions that emerged from the meeting is that if the yatra remains suspended, Ganga water can be collected by neighbouring states in tankers after obtaining due permission from the state police.
Kanwar Yatra, which begins in late July with the onset of Shrawan and goes on till early August covering a period of nearly a fortnight, sees a huge gathering of Shiva devotees on the banks of the Ganga in Haridwar mainly from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to collect its holy waters for "Jalabhishek" in Shiva temples. Permitting the yatra in the time of the pandemic is fraught with risks.
Dhami had recently said that a final decision on Kanwar Yatra would be taken only in consultation with the governments of neighbouring states. The Uttarakhand government had decided to partially open the Char Dham Yatra for locals only from July 1 as livelihoods of a large section of the state's population depends on the pilgrimage, but the Uttarakhand High Court had put a stay on the Cabinet decision.
Though withdrawing its decision in compliance with the high court's order, the state government has approached the Supreme Court challenging the high court's stay on Char Dham Yatra.
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