Uttarakhand HC stays Char Dham Yatra; says the event can invite another catastrophe

By: |
June 29, 2021 3:26 PM

In order to curb the Covid-19 transmission at a time when the many mutated variants of the virus are in play, the Uttarakhand High Court on Monday has put a stay of four weeks on the state cabinet decision that allows Char Dham yatra for locals of three districts starting July 1.

On June 25, the Uttarakhand government stated that they will allow Char Dham yatra for locals belonging to Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi districts of the state.

In order to curb the Covid-19 transmission at a time when the many mutated variants of the virus are in play, the Uttarakhand High Court on Monday has put a stay of four weeks on the state cabinet decision that allows Char Dham yatra for locals of three districts starting July 1. The court took in consideration the opinion of experts who had opined that the organising Kumbh Mela in Haridwar in April was an “ill-decision” and was also a contributory factor that led to steep rise of the Covid cases during the second wave.

On June 25, the Uttarakhand government stated that they will allow Char Dham yatra for locals belonging to Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi districts of the state from July 1. However, after the decision of the state high court, spokesperson Subodh Uniyal said that the state government will examine the HC order and if necessary, they will move the Supreme Court, a report by The IE noted.

The court observed that the impact of the second Covid-19 wave was rather devastating and has led to the death of more than 3 lakh people and a huge loss to many families and children. During the period of April-May, lifesaving medicines, oxygen tanks, hospital beds, ambulances- everything was scarce and crippled the healthcare system. People were running and begging to be saved. In fact, the burial grounds and crematoriums had insufficient spaces. Considering such a situation, it is crucial to make sure it does not happen again.

Furthermore, the court highlighted that experts have pegged that it will take 18 months to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of the Uttarakhand’s population. Even if all the state population is vaccinated, there is no guarantee that they will be completely safe from the Delta Plus variant. In addition to this, the court noted even though the state government had best intentions during Kumbh Mela, the civil administration of Haridwar and Rishikesh had failed when it came to implementation of Covid-19 SOPs.

To be sure, the experts and Central government officials have been directing the Uttarakhand government against the Char Dham yatra, yet the government took the decision on organising it last week. There is lingering fear of a third Covid-19 wave and the cabinet decision is likely to expose people to danger further.

Meanwhile, the court had directed the state government to hold ceremonies within the sanctum sanctorum of the Char Dham temples and have it live streamed for the people.

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