Uttarakhand: CM Pushkar Singh Dhami announces repeal of Char Dham Devasthanam Board Management Act

As per the Act, the Chief Minister was the chairman of the board while the Minister for religious affairs was the vice-chairman.

The Uttarakhand government had earlier constituted a high-level committee to look into the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act, 2019.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami today announced that the BJP government in Uttarakhand has decided to repeal the Char Dham Devasthanam Board Management Act. “We went through the details of the report submitted by the panel headed by Manohar Kant Dhyani. After considering all aspects of the issue our government has decided to withdraw the Act,” announced Dhami, putting an end to the two-year-long protest by priests. The Uttarakhand government had earlier constituted a high-level committee to look into the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act, 2019. The committee submitted its report to CM Dhami on Sunday.

The Char Dham Devasthanam Board Act, passed in 2019 during the tenure of then CM Trivendra Singh Rawat, brought over 50 temples including the Char Dham under the state government’s control through the Char Dham Devasthanam Board, leading to allegations by priests that the government was encroaching upon their rights. Former CM Rawat had constituted the Char Dham Devasthanam Board on January 15, 2020.

As per the Act, the Chief Minister was the chairman of the board while the Minister for religious affairs was the vice-chairman. Two MLAs of Gangotri and Yamunotri constituencies were members as well as the Chief Secretary of the board. A senior IAS officer was the Chief Executive Officer. The board had the powers to frame policies, make decisions with regards to the budget and expenditure, to give directions for the safe custody, prevention and management of funds, valuable securities, jewellery and properties of the temples.

It may be recalled that priests had prevented former CM Rawat from entering the Kedarnath temple premises weeks before the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 5.

Last week, the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad had reminded the state government of its November 30 deadline while threatening to launch a protest against the Uttarakhand government.

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