Uttarakhand allows Char Dham Yatra from July 1, only local pilgrims can attend

Express News Service
DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand government on Sunday announced to resume Char Dhan Yatra from July 1 for local pilgrims of the three districts- Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi where the course shrines Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri are located. 

From July 11, 2021 the yatra will be opened for pilgrims across the state, said officials. 

Subodh Uniyal, spokesperson for the government and state cabinet minister said, “The Char Dham Yatra will be opened from July 1 for pilgrims of districts where shrines are located with negative RTPCT/Rapid antigen report. For other districts the yatra will be opened from July 11.”

On June 16, Uttarakhand High Court had remarked that the Char Dham Yatra will not be allowed until the court is convinced about Covid 19 safety.

The government was asked to take decision on the yatra and file a detailed affidavit about arrangements made till June 21, next date of hearing. 

Division bench of Chief Justice RS Chauhan and Justice Alok Verma while hearing a number of Covid 19 petitions clubbed together remarked, “We won’t allow Char Dham Yatra until and unless we are convinced about the safety (Covid 19).”

The court, commenting on the decision of resuming the yatra citing the example of Kumbh observed that last minute decisions do more harm than good.

“Last minute decisions do more harm than good. Kumbh could not be managed due to last minute decision and situation spiralled out of control,” observed the bench. 

The bench recalling the spike in number of cases across the country during and aftermath of Kumbh remarked, “If it yet again happens, we cannot go around sullying our state’s reputation.”

Earlier, last month the court had directed the secretary to visit the place such as Kedarnath shrine and others and then take decision about opening tourism in the state including religious ones. 

The government on Sunday also decided to extend ‘Covid Curfew’ for a week starting from June 23 with few relaxations.

The shops of essential items will be allowed to open five days a week, hotels, restaurants and bars can function with 50% capacity but will remain close from 10 pm to 6 am.