Saturday, June 3, 2023

Kanwar Yatra 2021: Uttrakhand govt allows water tankers to carry ‘Ganga jal’


Kanwar Yatra 2021, Kanwar YatraThe Uttarakhand govt on Tuesday cancelled the symbolic Kanwar Yatra in view of COVID third wave scare (Photo: IE)

The Uttarakhand government will allow states to carry ‘Ganga Jal’ from Haridwar in water tankers during Kanwar Mela, if there is a demand for it, read the official statement. “If there is a demand for carrying Ganga Jal from the states during Kanwar Mela, then we are ready to cooperate. Kanwariyas can carry Ganga Jal from Haridwar through water tankers,” additional chief secretary to the Chief Minister of Uttrakhand was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

The statement comes a day after the central government said in the Supreme Court that no state should allow the movement of devotees to Haridwar for collecting water from Ganga during Kanwar Mela this year. The government earlier stated that states must find a way out to make water available from Ganga with the help of tankers at designated locations so that people nearby can offer it to Shiva temples in their areas.

Not just this, the government also mandated that the collection of water followed by subsequent rituals will take place in compliance with all Covid-19 safety guidelines/norms intact– wearing face masks, social distancing, hygiene. The Uttar Pradesh government will also have to inform whether it would reconsider its decision to hold a Kanwar Yatra to the apex court by July 19, 2021.

The court said this matter concerns every one of us as citizens of India, and goes to the very heart of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The health of the citizens of India and their right to life are paramount to us. All other sentiments, even religious, are not equal to this most basic fundamental right.

The Uttarakhand government on Tuesday (July 13) cancelled the symbolic Kanwar Yatra in view of COVID third wave scare and ongoing second wave of pandemic. “We have decided to cancel yatra this year as human life holds topmost priority to us. The possible threat of third wave and Delta Plus variant virus and its impact across the country and abroad has made us cancel the Kanwar Mela this year,” said Uttrakhand Chief Minister Pushakar Singh Dhami. Uttarakhand has also stated that all borders of the state would be sealed for Kanwariyas from 24 July. Others can move and that there would be no restrictions on them.

Ashok Kumar,Director General of Police (DGP), Uttarakhand asked officials to strictly implement the order in the state. If a Kanwariya enters Haridwar defying the rules, he would be put under quarantine for 14 days. Standard operating procedure (SOP) will also be placed in consultation with the district magistrates in view of the suspension of the Kanwar Yatra.

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