Char Dham pilgrimage begins on a positive note

  • Abhinav Madhwal, Hindustan Times, Dehradun
  • Updated: Apr 22, 2015 14:57 IST

The Char Dham Yatra begun on Tuesday with the opening of the portals of the Gangotri and Yamnotri dhams, drawing a significantly higher number of pilgrims compared to last year.

The state government is buoyed by the flow of pilgrims, whose numbers were down to a trickle after the 2013 natural disaster that left thousands dead and Uttarakhand’s tourism in tatters.

The pilgrimage remains treacherous and the considerable number of deadly accidents that occurred on the quadrilateral route in recent years has prompted state administration and police to take pre-emptive measures.

Police have identified 217 points as accident prone, deciding to deploy additional personnel along these stretches to avert accidents.

For instance, the Sirobagad mountain, a site of perpetual erosion and landslides, would see the presence of state disaster response Force (SDRF) to supervise the passage of pilgrims and people. The mountain lies on the border of Srinagar and Rudraprayag.

According to Garhwal range Inspector General of Police Sanjay Gunjyal, a detailed list of danger spots has been drawn up after careful study of the accidents that took place over the last decade.

“We are now putting up posters, hoardings and banners at these spots to warn of the imminent danger”, he said.
Special drives against rash and drunken driving and random vehicle checks will also be carried out, said Gunyal.

According to official figures, five accidents took place in Uttarkashi in 2013, 18 in Tehri, 69 in Chamoli, 26 in Rudraprayag and 15 in Pauri districts. A total of 91 people lost their lives in these accidents.

In 2014, 19 accidents took place in Uttarkashi, 51 in Tehri, 56 in Chamoli, 26 in Rudraprayag and 20 in Pauri. 172 lives were lost in these accidents.

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