Home Dehradun Govt removes cap on pilgrim numbers for Char Dham Yatra

Govt removes cap on pilgrim numbers for Char Dham Yatra

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By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 21 Apr: Under pressure from various stakeholders, the Uttarakhand Government has removed the daily upper limit on the number of pilgrims for darshan at the Char Dham shrines. In this connection, a government order was issued under the signature of Additional Chief Secretary Radha Raturi, today.
In the wake of land subsidence incidents in Joshimath some months ago, questions were raised from many quarters, including the environmentalists, about the uncontrolled Char Dham Yatra and tourism activities in Uttarakhand. It was alleged that tourism and pilgrimage were going on at a scale much beyond the carrying capacity of the hills. The government was also forced to consider restricting the Char Dham Yatra to some extent and a limit of pilgrims for every day was fixed for each of the four Char Dham shrines.
This was not done for the first time. It may be recalled that due to extremely heavy rush of devotees coming for the Char Dham Yatra in the previous season, a quota had been fixed in October at 3,000 pilgrims per day for Kedarnath and Badrinath. However, this quota was raised for the coming season, 2023, at 9,000 pilgrims per day for Kedarnath and 10,000 pilgrims per day for Badrinath temple. Not only this, only online pre-registration was also made mandatory for the Char Dham Yatra. This move was strongly opposed by many stakeholders including the hoteliers, tour operators and even the Teerth Purohits and the traders located at Char Dham sites and along the Yatra routes. On the other hand, this move was welcomed by the environmentalists and some social organisations. However, it seems that the government has succumbed to the pressure put by the stakeholders.
Today, the government raised the upper limit. This means, any number of pilgrims will now be allowed to visit the Char Dham temples without restraint. Not only this, the order issued by Raturi also makes it clear that the condition of pre-registration only through online mode has also been done away with. Of course, the government has made it clear that registration will remain mandatory whether through online or offline mode. The government has claimed that offline registration facility will be mainly available to the pilgrims from the state itself and it has further claimed that the requirement of registration will help the government track and monitor the pilgrims and also help the government take measures to control the crowds if necessary.
After the decision, people associated with the Chardham Yatra, including the Purohit Mahasabha President, Purushottam Uniyal, have expressed their gratitude to the Chief Minister. So far, the registration figure for Chardham Yatra has crossed 15 lakhs. For the convenience of the devotees, this time the tourism department had started registration from 21 February, itself. Of the total numbers of registrations done, 5.41 lakh pilgrims have registered for Kedarnath Dham, 4.56 lakh for Badrinath Dham, 2.77 lakh for Gangotri Dham and 2.40 lakhs for Yamunotri Dham.