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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

Kedarnath yatra suspended till May 16

Press Trust of India  Dehradun, May 13, 2014
First Published: 22:35 IST(13/5/2014) | Last Updated: 22:36 IST(13/5/2014)

Snowfall in the higher reaches of Garhwal Himalayas and intermittent rains in lower areas affected the Char Dham yatra on Tuesday with pilgrimage to the famous Kedarnath shrine suspended till May 16 and yatra to Badrinath halted temporarily.

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“Yatra to Kedarnath has been suspended till May 16. Snowfall continues in the shrine area and lower Kedar Valley is being lashed by showers,” Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee CEO VD Singh told PTI.

“Yatra to Badrinath has also been temporarily halted as Nar Narayan Parbat in whose lap the temple is located received fresh snowfall last evening,” he said.

While devotees going to the eighth century shrine of Kedarnath have been stopped at Sonprayag and Linchauli about four kms away from the temple, those heading for Badrinath have been asked not to go beyond Joshimath till the weather improves, he said.

Meanwhile, chopper services tentatively scheduled to be launched between Linchauli and Kedarnath from May 12 will now begin from May 17.

Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat said the move has been deferred because of the Model Code of Conduct which will remain in force till May 16. Aviation regulator DGCA is also completing other formalities related to clearance for the launch, he said.


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‘Central aid to state rose in past 3 yrs, but growth slow’

The annual assistance from the Centre to the state has increased in last few financial years, according to official statistics, even though the Uttarakhand government has been firing salvos at the central government over it.
 
Two days ago, the state Congress unit demanded `4,000 crore financial assistance from the centre.
According to the central statistics office figures, the Centre released `4883.74 crores for the state in 2011-12. It released `4717.68 crores in 2012-2013. And in 2013-2014, it increased the assistance to `5418.60 crores.

Uttarakhand is one of the 11 Himalayan states which enjoy special category status besides Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
 
These special category states have to make part payment to the centre in lieu of getting funds for centrally-sponsored schemes.
Interestingly, on an average, central assistance has been substantial for the state though it has not helped Uttarakhand in increasing its Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) which is total monetary value of goods and services produced by a state economy in a given year.
“GSDP depends on various factors like rate of savings and investments and overall business atmosphere. But that doesn’t mean the state does not need help,” said Surender Kumar, media in-charge for CM adding that the state needs more funds.
 
The figures for Uttarakhand GSDP growth at constant (2004-5) price (as on 01-08-2014) was 9.36% in 2011-12. It was 5.61% in 2012-13 and 5.65% in 2013-2014.
 
Sometime back Planning Commission constituted a committee to study development in hill states arising from management of forest land with special focus on creation of infrastructure, livelihood and human development.
 
The report of the committee was discussed in Internal Planning Committee meeting held in February this year.
A Planning Commission note claimed that IPC broadly endorsed the recommendations of the committee. The report has also been forwarded to states for further inputs.

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