The Uttarakhand government in a major development decided to suspend the Kanwar yatra this year, amid the growing fear of the emerging third wave of Covid 19 in the state.
The newly appointed Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Pushkar Singh Dhami held a meeting with top officials of the administration and the police staff to discuss the possibility of a third wave of Covid 19 in the state. The recent spike in positive cases of the Delta variant and the experience of other countries was taken into consideration. Various experts were consulted before the decision to end the Kanwar yatra took place.
Kanwar yatra is an annual religious pilgrimage of devotees of Shiva. The yatra sees a heavy movement across states.
Prioritizing human life, Uttarakhand CM said, “Topmost priority is given to human life. Discussions were done over the concerning issue.” He added that the government even communicated with the neighboring states.
The neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh is preparing for the annual ritual but with some ‘restrictions’. The Uttarakhand government however canceled the yatra.
The Kanwar Yatra will be held from July 25 to August 6, Uttar Pradesh ADG said. ADG Kumar said Covid protocol will be taken care of.‘Covid care booths’ will be set up with other essential items like masks, sanitizers, pulse oximeters, covid test kits, and thermometers on the yatra routes. Negative RT-PCR will be mandatory for the yatra.
Statistical evidence states that in 2019, nearly 3.5 crore Kanwariyas visited Haridwar. UP ADG Kumar said Covid rules and regulations will be followed. ‘Covid care booths’ with masks, sanitizers, testing kits, pulse oximeters, and thermometers on the yatra routes will be set up.
The former CM Tirath Rawat’s government faced severe criticism for hosting the Kumbh Mela. The Uttarakhand state branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) also wrote to CM Dhami, to cancel the Kanwar yatra.