Uttarakhand to approach court for Char Dham yatra relaxations


By Express News Service

DEHARDUN: The Uttarakhand state government will approach the court to increase the limit of daily pilgrims visiting the Char Dham shrines – Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. 

At present, 1000 pilgrims are allowed in Kedarnath, followed by 800 in Badrinath, 600 in Gangotri and 400 in Yamunotri dham. 

Satpal Maharaj, state tourism minister, said, “We are aware of the issues faced by pilgrims travelling to the Char Dham. Things are being discussed and if need be, we will approach the honorable court requesting a few relaxations.”

Stakeholders, including the taxi, hotel associations, along with visitors have been raising the issue citing bulk cancellations due to restrictions.

The bookings are being cancelled due to a limited number of pilgrims being allowed in the four shrines, two-time online registrations, and mandatory Covid-19 negative report along with certificates for both doses for some states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. 

According to the SOP, the pilgrims willing to visit any of the four shrines will be required to have certificates of both the doses of Covid-19 vaccination or a Covid-19 negative report not older than 72 hours of the visit. 

However, pilgrims from Kerala, Madhya Paresh and Maharashtra will have to fulfill both the requirements – certificates for both the doses and a Covid-19 negative report not older than 72 hours of the visit to any of the four shrines. 

The SOP stated that those travelling from outside the hill state will have to register on the smarty city portal (www.smartcity.uk.gov.in) while residents of Uttarakhand will not have to register on the portal. 

E-passes that are mandatory will be issued after registering on the website of the Char Dham Devsthanam Board (www.devsthanam.uk.gov.in and www.badrinath-kedarnath.gov.in). 

The SOP also mentioned that medical relief posts (MRP), first medical responder (FMR), isolation centers, Covid Care Centers, ambulances, helpline numbers (104, 108) and portable oxygen cylinders are in place for the Yatra.

The SOP also include prohibition on entering the sanctom sanctorum of the shrines, compulsory wearing of masks and many other precautionary measures such as applying sanitizers and maintaining social distance.

The touching of any idol of any deity and bringing any offering such as flowers or sweets has been prohibited in the SOP.

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