The Ganges status in Haridwar will finally be restored as CM vows to scrap the congressional order
Uttarakhand Prime Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat announced on Sunday that the state government would soon remove the order that had given the escape channel status to the Ganges stretch at Har-Ki-Pauri in Haridwar.
Rawat made this announcement before meeting with representatives of Akhada Parishad at his residence in connection with preparations for 2021 Kumbh. Rawat said the decision has been made given the long pending demand from saints and priests and to respect the feelings of the people.
On December 14, 2016, the congressional-led government issued an order declaring part of the Ganges from Sarvanand ghat, Bhoopatwala to Shri Daksheshwar Mahadev temple, passing through the sanctum sanctorum of Brahahmkund, Har-Ki-Pauri as an escape channel . This meant that Har-Ki-Pauri ghat is not on the main course of the Ganges river and therefore was not subject to the directive of the National Green Court (NGT) regarding the prohibition of construction activities within the 100 meters from the Ganges River.
The declaration came after NGT made a “no-development zone” 100 meters from the Ganges on both sides of the river bed.
In July this year, former Congressional Chief Minister Harish Rawat had requested an apology from the holy community for issuing the government order in 2016, asking the BJP-led government to rescind it and void it.
Akhada Parishad, saints, local priests, merchants and Ganges activists have welcomed the decision to scrap the previous order of state government led by Congress.
Rawat assured Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad, the delegation of saints led by President Mahant Narendra Giri, on Sunday that he would overturn the order with a notification to be issued on Monday to this effect.
Akhil Bharatiya Secretary General Akhada Parishad said that, although it is a bit late, the restoration of the old state of the Har-Ki-Pauri current flow as part of the main Ganges current is a positive development.
Ganga Sabha, who manages the affairs of Har-Ki-Pauri, expressed his gratitude to CM for announcing the removal of the 2016 congressional government order.
Urban Development Minister Madan Kaushik praised the decision, saying that the BJP government overturned the irregularities of the previous congressional-led government and that a government notification will be issued on Monday.
The local saints and priests who were organizing an indefinite sit-in of unrest in Har-Ki-Pauri for the past month also ended their unrest with this announcement.
Euphoric, the local priests also offered milk to the Ganges deity after the announcement.
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One of the representatives of the local priests, Saurabh Shikhaula, said that if the BJP-led state government had further delayed the annulment of the order, they would have intensified their agitation.
“Since ancient times, Brahamkund, Har-Ki-Pauri is one of the revered places to bathe in the holy Ganges, perform rituals and host Kumbh fairs. How did it become an escape channel for the Ganges Canal when the British built the Ganges Canal during 1840-1850? It was unacceptable not only for the priests here, but also for the pilgrims who come to Har-Ki-Pauri for religious and spiritual reasons. Our feelings were hurt when we see, in the government newspapers, that Har-Ki-Pauri is considered part of a canal and not the main dish of the holy Ganges, ”Shikaula said.
Meanwhile, the Opposition Congress has also welcomed the move, saying that it will restore Harki-Pauri’s status as a Ganga ghat.
“The CM announcement has rectified the mistake made in 2016 by then CM Harish Rawat, who a few months ago accepted it and urged the current government to revoke the order related to it,” said Dhirendra Pratap Singh, vice president of the state Congress.