HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Portals of Badrinath open amid chanting of mantras

Arvind Moudgil  Joshimath, May 05, 2014
First Published: 23:36 IST(5/5/2014) | Last Updated: 23:39 IST(5/5/2014)

The portals of Badrinath temple were opened by the raval (head priest), Ishwar Prasad Namboodri, at around 4am on Monday morning amid a chanting of mantras and cheers of Jai Badri Vishal by a huge gathering. The Kedarnath temple was also opened on Sunday morning.

On the opening of the Singh Dwar (Badrinath portals), the idol of Laxmi was taken out of the Garbh Grih (sanctum sanctorum) to the Laxmi temple nearby and the idols of Udhav and Kuber were taken into the Garbh Grih and placed beside Badri Narain to complete the Badrish Panchayat, in the presence of the members of the temple committee, dharmadhikari, vedpatis, Dimri community and panda panchayat.

The temple was elegantly decorated with the strings of marigold flowers, and the melodious tunes of Garhwal scouts made the early morning solemn and pious.

Over 5,000 pilgrims reached Badrinath on the opening day with most of them braving the bitter cold and light showers throughout the night and standing in queues.

Women from Mani Bhadrapur and Mana villages, dressed in their traditional attire, danced to the folk songs of Chaufla, Chanchri and Jhumelo throughout the night before the temple was reopened, much to the delight of the devotees.

The pilgrims also visited Bheem Pul, Ganesh Gufa, Muchukand Gufa and even Mana, the last village on the Indo-Tibetan border, after crossing a glacier.

Channa Singh Barwal, who has been running a tea stall in the village for the past 22 years, looked happy to see the visitors and hoped to replenish his little shop with snacks and other eatables.

Notably, the 44km motor road from Joshimath to Badrinath was damaged and completely washed out at a few places during the mid-June disaster last year. However, the connectivity has been restored up to Badrinath now. A stretch of about 5km from Pandukeshwar to the Benakuli top is narrow and challenging because of it being in the sliding zone.

Many small vehicles were stuck in sliding zones of Lambagar, JP Barrage and Benakuli and caused a traffic jam for several hours.

Pilgrims were seen guiding the traffic to open the jam, while the presence of police and administration was almost negligible. The traffic moved slowly, taking almost four hours to cover 44km from Joshimath to Kedarnath.

The melting glaciers near Pagal Nala, Kheer Ganga and Kanchan Ganga have made the roads muddy and cumbersome to travel.

However, no registration of the pilgrims for Badrinath is being done at Joshimath or onwards as is being done on the Kedarnath route.

The start of the yatra has broken the silence of the Badrinath valley and people are hopeful that the pilgrimage would gather momentum and bring prosperity to the land.

more from Dehradun

‘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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