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Uttarakhand HC lifts stay on Char Dham yatra

The Uttarakhand high court on Thursday lifted its June 28 stay on Char Dham yatra.

Uttarakhand HC lifts stay on Char Dham yatra
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The Uttarakhand high court on Thursday lifted its June 28 stay on Char Dham yatra, paving the way for the start of yatra to the four revered Himalayan shrines with Covid curbs, while capping the daily pilgrim numbers. The HC has limited the number of daily pilgrims to 800 for Kedarnath, 1,000 for Badrinath, 600 for Gangotri, and 400 for Yamunotri.

Shiv Bhatt, counsel of one of the petitioners, said HC has also directed the state government to station helicopters and medical ambulances at all the shrines. "The court has directed the government to provide various facilities on the route to Char Dhams from Haridwar. The court also said medical facilities like beds with medical oxygen, doctors, and other medical facilities also be increased," he said.

On June 28, the high court had stayed the cabinet decision to allow the yatra from July 1 for the locals of the three districts where the shrines are located. Instead, it directed the state government, the daily prayer rituals could be livestreamed from the shrines.

The state government then approached the Supreme Court with a Special leave petition (SLP) against the decision. But earlier this month, it withdrew the SLP and approached the HC again with the plea that the yatra be allowed as Covid cases had come down significantly.

The court is also hearing a bunch of public interest litigation which have been filed by Sachdanand Dabral, Dushyant Mainali, Anu Pant and Rajendra Arya related to various issues regarding the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic in the state.

Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri shrines are collectively called Char Dham and tens of thousands of pilgrims visit them annually. The pilgrimage begins from Yamunotri in the west. It then proceeds to Gangotri and finally to Kedarnath and Badrinath in the east.

According to Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board officials, last year 310,000 pilgrims went for the Char Dham yatra.

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