By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 21 May: More than eight lakh pilgrims have visited Char Dham shrines so far this season. Lakhs of people have registered themselves online and offline for Char Dham for darshan, so far till the month of May the registration slots are already fully booked. On the other hand, the portals of Hemkund Sahib and Lokpal shrines will open tomorrow. In order to maintain law and order and ensure safety and manageability, the government has this year fixed the number of pilgrims visiting the Char Dham shrines per day.
It may be recalled that on 19 May, Governor Lieutenant General (Retd) Gurmit Singh and the Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, along with the Panchpyaras, had flagged off the first batch of pilgrims from Rishikesh to Hemkund Sahib. This batch reached Gurdwara Govind Ghat last evening, and it reached Ghangaria this evening.
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami stated that it is his priority to ensure safe pilgrimage for all the pilgrims coming to the state. Recently, Cabinet Minister Dr Dhan Singh Rawat was given the responsibility of monitoring the yatra and the arrangements for Kedarnath Yatra while Cabinet Minister Subodh Uniyal was given similar responsibility for Badrinath Dham Yatra. This has been done to ensure that administration remains on its toes and to ensure convenient journey for the pilgrims.
In this respect, TourismPilgrimage Minister Satpal Maharaj said that devotees were reaching Uttarakhand in large numbers. It is the effort of the government that the devotees do not face any problem during the course of the Yatra and during their stay in the state. At the same time, Chairman of the BadrinathKedarnath Temple Committee, Ajendra Ajay told that the committee has made efforts at its level so that the pilgrims can have smooth darshan in the dhams by the temple committee. Secretary Religious Affairs, Harichand Semwal said that orders have been issued by the government for speedy redressal of the problems faced by the pilgrims.
According to Tourism Secretary Dilip Jawalkar, Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board is continuously monitoring online and offline registration/counters. It has further been claimed that Garhwal Commissioner Sushil Kumar has directed that Char Dham Yatra Administration Organisation sets up a help desk in Rishikesh to guide the pilgrims towards a safer and smoother journey.
The Chardham Yatra is being conducted by all the district administrations concerned, local bodies, temple committees, state health department in coordination with various departments and the committees of respective Dhams. Heli ambulance facilities including NDRF have also been provided to deal with any emergency.
Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee’s media incharge Dr Harish Gaur has released the figures of the pilgrims till May 20 night and said that so far eight lakh pilgrims have reached Char Dham. In Badrinath Dham, 2.4 lakh devotees have visited so far, from 8 May (the date of opening of the portals) till 20 May. In Kedarnath, 2.69 lakh devotees have visited till 20 May from 6 May (the date of opening of the portals). In Gangotri, 1.50 lakh devotees have visited from 3 May (the date of opening of the portals) till 20 May, while in Yamunotri, 1.13 lakh pilgrims have visited from 3 May till 20 May.