Chardham Yatra to Open Partially for Locals from July 1; Uttarakhand HC Pulls Up Govt

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Uttarakhand Cabinet on Friday decided to partially open the Chardham yatra for locals in limited numbers from July 1 even as the high court reprimanded the state government for the “haste”.  The Uttarakhand High Court had on Wednesday asked the Tirath Singh Rawat government to either suspend or defer the Chardham yatra citing the cancellation of Amarnath Yatra in Jammu & Kashmir.

Briefing reporters about the cabinet’s decision, state government’s spokesman Subodh Uniyal said Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri will be opened for residents of Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi districts respectively from July 1 with a cap on the number of pilgrims to visit the temples daily.

Bringing a negative RT-PCR/Rapid Antigen test report will be mandatory for every pilgrim and the SOPs to be followed by them while visiting the temples will be issued separately, Uniyal said.

A senior official will be appointed for each of the four Himalayan temples who will coordinate with the district administration concerned about the arrangement for pilgrims, he added.

Asked whether the Chardham yatra will open for pilgrims from across the state from July 11 as planned earlier, the spokesman said it will depend on the overall Covid situation. “There are predictions about the third wave and the Delta mutant of the pandemic. That will have to be taken into account before we go ahead with the decision to open the yatra for the whole of the state. The Cabinet will sit again to take a call on that,” Uniyal said.

(With PTI inputs)

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