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Chaar dham yatra: Govt extra cautious

Fear among the public because of last year's mid-June flash floods have propelled the government to undertake a string of security measures as the pigrimage season begins on May 2
None | By HT Correspondent, Dehradun
UPDATED ON MAR 11, 2014 03:38 PM IST

Dehradun: The government on Monday formally announced the dates for starting Chaar Dham pilgrimage season with opening the portals of Gangotri temple on May 2. This will be followed by opening the portals of Kedarnath shrine on May 4 and Badrinath shrine on Mar 5.

The Uttarakhand government is not very hopeful of getting a good response during its Chaar Dham pilgrimage this year. Reason: Fear among the public because of the disaster last year. This was hinted at by the tourism department officials at a press conference in Dehradun.

Explaining the pilgrimage plan, tourism secretary Umakant Panwar said that the department had been conducting publicity drives across the country to woo tourists. However, he said this year the scene may not be as good as in the past.

“It will take time to restore the faith of the pilgrims. We have conducted a series of meetings with tour operators across the country to dispel fear from the mind of the public but it takes time to restore the confidence,” said Panwar.

“The government is not leaving any stone unturned to create conducive environment for the smooth flow of tourists,” Panwar said adding that government will make proper arrangements for the safety of tourists this season.

Panwar said reconstruction work of tourist routes would be completed by March 30 and that all district magistrates have been asked to start making arrangements for the pilgrims.
Panwar further informed that a control room will be set up in Dehradun to regulate the flow of pilgrims. Officers from different departments will be pressed into service at the control room to keep track of the activities pertaining to their departments like PWD, health department, water resources, disaster management and others.

In addition to this the government has decided to set up a joint task force of state police and national institute of mountaineering for catering to the safety needs of pilgrims on new pedestrian route between Bhimbali and Kedarnath shrine.

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