By ARUN PRATAP SINGH
DEHRADUN, 30 Nov: As Garhwal Post has been indicating regularly for past one month, Pushkar Singh Dhami Government has eventually announced its decision to dissolve the Uttarakhand Chard Dam Devasthanam Management Board. The announcement was made by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami himself this morning. It may be recalled that Garhwal Post had already indicated that a positive decision was likely to be taken by 30 November and before the Prime Minister’s visit to Dehradun. The decision was taken on the basis of the report of the High Level Committee and the Cabinet SubCommittee constituted in this regard. The Cabinet Sub Committee headed by Cabinet Minister Satpal Maharaj had yesterday itself submitted its report to the CM and it had reportedly recommended dissolution of the Devasthanam Board. The announcement was made by Chief Minister Dhami this morning. It may be recalled further that the Devasthanam Board had been constituted by the BJP Government headed by Trivendra Singh Rawat in December, 2019. The announcement had been made in November, 2019. The move to bring Char Dham and allied temples, 51 in all under the government controlled Devasthanam Board was strongly opposed by the Teerth Purohits as well as other stakeholders besides, seers and sages across the country. In fact, the constitution of the Board was challenged in Uttarakhand High Court by maverick BJP MP Subramanian Swamy though, he lost the case but it was again challenged in the Supreme Court. A continuous agitation particularly in past five months forced the government to go back on its move and for past few weeks, indications were available that the government was willing to reconsider its decision to set up the Board. In fact, when Trivendra Singh Rawat was replaced as CM by Teerath Singh Rawat and then Teerath Singh Rawat himself had been replaced by Pushkar Singh Dhami, the agitation had intensified forcing CM Dhami to set up a High Level Committee headed by former BJP MP Manohar Kant Dhyani to study the issue and give its recommendations. The Committee is learnt to have recommended dissolution of the Board in view of the anger prevailing among the Teerth Purohits and other stakeholders against the constitution of the board. The Cabinet SubCommittee submitted its report to Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Monday. After receiving the report, the Chief Minister did not delay in taking the decision. Dhami also made it clear that action was being initiated to withdraw the related Act by bringing a repeal bill in the forthcoming winter session of the state assembly to be held in Dehradun on 9 and 10 December. The cabinet subcommittee, after studying the report of the high-level committee, submitted its recommendation to the Chief Minister yesterday. The government had already made it clear that by 30 November it would take a decision on this subject. Last week, when the Teerth Purohits sat on a dharna outside the residence of Cabinet Ministers Subodh Uniyal and Bishan Singh Chufal, Uniyal had urged them to have patience till 30 November. And the announcement to repeal the Board came on 30 November only. For the last two years, there was a continuous conflict between the teerth-purohits and the government regarding the Devasthanam Board. Opposition parties were also opposing the formation of the board. In view of the upcoming state assembly elections, the government chose not to let the confrontation continue and announced its rollback on the issue. It may be recalled that theTrivendra Singh Rawat government of BJP had passed the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Bill from the Assembly on December 9, 2019. Thereafter it became a law, once the Governor approved the same. It may be recalled that the government had constituted the board by issuing its notification on 25 February, 2020. The Chief Minister was the Chairman of the Board and the Religious Affairs Minister was made its Vice-Chairman. Garhwal Divisional Commissioner Ravinath Raman was given the post of Chief Executive Officer of the Board. Several bureaucrats, including the Chief Secretary, were made its members. Provision was made to nominate one member of the royal family of Tehri princely state, three MPs of Hindu religion and six MLAs as members. In addition, four donors, persons with experience in religious matters of Hinduism, priests and three representatives of Teerth Purohits were also accommodated in the board. The government will introduce a bill in the assembly to withdraw the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Act in the upcoming assembly session to be held on December 9 and 10. Meanwhile, former CM Trivendra Singh Rawat expressed his reservation in respect of the rollback in this respect. On the other hand, the Teerth Purohits and other stakeholders have welcomed the decision, expressed gratitude towards the government and the CM and have said they would felicitate the CM soon.