Home Dehradun Exercise begins on formation of Char Dham Yatra Authority

Exercise begins on formation of Char Dham Yatra Authority


By Arun Pratap Singh

Dehradun, 22 May: Brainstorming has begun on setting up an authority for the management and operation of the Char Dham Yatra. Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami had yesterday given instructions in this regard and sought a detailed report from Additional Chief Secretary Anand Vardhan in this regard. Sources state that, on the instructions of the Chief Minister, discussions have started regarding permanent arrangements for the management and operation of not only the Char Dham Yatra but other prominent religious Yatras across the state.

Additional Chief Secretary Anand Vardhan today held a meeting with officials of Tourism, Endowment, Police and Information departments at the Secretariat. In the meeting, the arrangements for the yatras and the challenges and difficulties faced during it were discussed.

Anand Vardhan

It was emphasised in today’s meeting that it is necessary to create a permanent mechanism to conduct a safe, smooth and orderly Char Dham Yatra and, for this, creation of a Yatra Authority is desirable. Anand Vardhan insisted on greater use of information technology, data analysis and artificial intelligence for the conduct of the Yatra in a systemic manner once the Authority is set up. He added that, through data analysis, it can be estimated how many devotees will come and on which dates more crowd could gather. Based on these estimates, the government and administration can make their preparations in time.

The Additional Chief Secretary also sought a report from the officers present at the meeting on the points related to their respective departments. He also directed Garhwal Commissioner Vinay Shankar Pandey to prepare questionnaires for collection of necessary information from all related departments. Vardhan said that these questionnaires will be sent to the departments and district magistrates concerned.

The ACS observed that this is the first meeting, so efforts are being made to understand the arrangements for Char Dham Yatra. He said that there will be another meeting again after a few days, in which District Magistrates will also be connected through virtual medium.

It may be recalled that, yesterday, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami directed the Additional Chief Secretary and Infrastructure Development Commissioner to submit a report after thorough examination on all aspects of the formation of the authority.

Although the BJP has welcomed the creation of the Char Dham Yatra Authority, BJP leaders privately admit that it is a major challenge without ruffling feathers of a large number of stakeholders. Though the officials claim that the main aim to set up the authority is to ensure better logistics and other arrangements and not to interfere in the religious management of the temples. They add that there is no plan to take away the control of the temples from the stakeholders or snatch away the traditional rights of various stakeholders like the Teerth Purohits.  However, many of the stakeholders are yet to be convinced since similar claims were made at the time of setting up the Devasthanam Board by the Trivendra Singh Rawat Government, but the Board had dissolved the Badri-Kedar Temple Committee and the Committees of Gangotri and Yamunotri temples and had taken control of the Yatra. The stakeholders are reported to be highly concerned with the “undue control” that can be exercised by the bureaucrats in the management of the Yatra as well as the temples.