Uttarakhand Health Minister Dhan Singh Rawat has indicated that state government will soon initiate a ‘positive step’ towards conducting Kanwar Yatra that begins this month. Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who has already allowed the annual Kanwar Yatra from July 25, on Friday directed officials to coordinate with neighbouring states to ensure Covid guidelines are followed.
‘Kanwariyas’ (devotees of Lord Shiva) collect water from River Ganga at Haridwar to offer at Shiva temples in their areas as part of the yatra. Kanwar Yatra was suspended last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rawat, who is also incharge minister of Haridwar, further told News18 that chief ministers of three BJP-ruled states — Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Uttarakhand — will soon meet virtually and chalk out a plan on how to conduct the yatra.
In Uttar Pradesh, following the virtual meeting with the chief minister, the senior officers took stock of situation and preparations in western part of the state. A detailed advisory is awaited as to how the COVID protocol will be ensured and what provisions it will have.
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.
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.