The Uttarakhand High Court asked the state government to inform when did the Char Dham Yatra is going to be opened. The court also asked the government to inform about various stages wherein the Char Dham Yatra is to be opened.
The Division Bench of Uttarakhand high court comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma perused the affidavit filed by Additional Secretary, Culture and Religious Affairs Department which specified that “frequent surprise visits by the Sub- Divisional Magistrate, Badkot, the Sub – Divisional Magistrate, Bhatwari and the Joint CEO of the Devasthanam Board are being carried out.”
However, the Court mentioned that the result of all these “surprise visits” had nowhere been stated in the affidavit.”
In the report, it was also mentioned that the government of Uttarakhand also ensuring that every priest and other persons in Devasthanam has been given the second dose of vaccine so that they will be secure from the havoc impact of the Covid -19 pandemic.
On this the court commented that,
“However, when the second dose was given? To how many persons the second dose was administered? The relevant data is conspicuously missing from the affidavit.”
The court further questioned that at the Char Dham Yathra, although it is claimed by the State Government that the directions were issued for the posting of medical staff, whether the appropriate medical staff has been put on work or not?
On this, The State Government submitted that the government has decided not to open Char Dham Yatra for visiting pilgrims till July 22, 2021. However, it was expressed that the choice of whether to open up the Char Dham Yatra after 22.06.2021 or not, is still under consideration by the State Government.
After considering the fact mentioned hereinabove, the Court issued the following directions:
1. The Secretary, Tourism shall file a report clearly stating the decision of the State Government regarding the opening of the Char Dham Yathra for pilgrims.
2. He should also inform the Court about the different phases in which the Char Dham Yatra is going to be open.
3. He should further inform the Court about the preparation of the State Government to ensure that the SOPs which are set up by the Central and the State government are strictly followed by the Char Dham Yatari or not.
4. He should also inform the court about the number of people employed for ensuring that SOPs issued by the Central and the State Government are duly complied with.
5. He should also inform the Court about the sanitization of the sixteen kilometers trek at the Kedarnath shrine, the infrastructure facilities, and equipment provided for such sanitization by the State Government.
The Court has called the report by June 21, 2021, and the matter will be further put on hearing on June 23, 2021.