Won't allow Char Dham Yatra till we are convinced about safety from Covid: Uttarakhand HC

Express News Service
DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday remarked that the Char Dham Yatra will not be allowed until the court is convinced about Covid-19 safety.

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

Dushyant Mainali, one of the counsels said, “The honourable court directed the government to take a decision on the yatra till June 21 and file a detailed affidavit about arrangements made till June 23, next date of hearing.”

The court further observed that the Char Dham Yatra like Kumbh is of national importance and affects the whole country (in terms of Covid 19). 

Citing the example of recently-held Kumbh, the court said, “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.”

Dilip Jawalkar, secretary tourism who was present before the court during virtual hearing, was questioned about the arrangements made for the yatra.

Dissatisfied by his replies, the court directed him to apprise about arrangements made for the yatra including food, shelter, sanitation, medical facilities and others in the form of affidavit till June 23. 

The court while hearing the matter on June 9, 2021, had come down heavily on secretary, tourism of Uttarakhand. “How can he be sitting in his ‘Coccoon’ in Dehradun and decide that all is well to open tourism in the state,” the court had stated.

Earlier, last month the court had directed the secretary to visit places like Kedarnath shrine to decide if tourist hotspots and religious places can be opened in the hill state.

The HC also directed the govt to apprise about Covid 19 vaccination status of the people in and around these four shrines and asked if the Aarti of Char Dham can be live-streamed.