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Saint community seeks reversal of govt order on Har-ki-Pauri status

Saints and teerth purohits in Haridwar have want the government order revoked that states that Har-ki-Pauri — a ghat where pilgrims take a holy dip — is on the banks of an ’escape channel’ of the Ganga canal and not on the banks of the Ganga river

dehradun Updated: May 21, 2018 22:05 IST
Sandeep Rawat
Sandeep Rawat
Hindustan Times, Haridwar
Uttarakhand News
The VHP believes the Ganga river flows till Mayapur —1 km ahead of Har-Ki-Pauri — and after that it’s Ganga canal.(HT File/Rameshwar Gaur)

Saints and teerth purohits in Haridwar have started a movement to revoke the government order that states that Har-ki-Pauri — a ghat where pilgrims take a holy dip — is on the banks of an “escape channel” of the Ganga canal and not on the banks of the Ganga river.

The order, issued during the previous Congress government’s tenure on December 14, 2016, states that the stream of the Ganga from Sarvanand Ghat, Khadkhadi, Har-ki-Pauri, Damkoti, Mayapur and further till Sati Ghat-Shri Daksheshwar temple to be deemed as “part of the escape channel of the Ganga canal”.

Apparently, the order was issued to circumvent the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directive that prohibited “any type of construction” within 200 metres from the Ganga river bed. The NGT order had raised a hue and cry from the construction and quarrying mafia, hoteliers and a section of traders.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) also expressed its concern over the issue, with its national secretary Rajendra Singh Pankaj declaring that the organisation deems Ganga till Mayapur —1 km ahead of Har-Ki-Pauri — and after that it’s Ganga canal.

In a convention held at Devpura on Monday, the saint community, teerth purohits, pundas, Ganga activists and local people demanded that the state government should denounce the previous Congress government’s order and declare Har-Ki-Pauri as being on the main course of the Ganga river.

Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad president Mahant Narendra Giri urged the state government to nullify the existing order or else akhadas and saints will be forced to take the agitation route.

Bharat Jagriti Mission, an organisation mobilising various sections of the society to reverse the existing order, has called for a mass movement in coming days “if the state government will not revoke the order”.

“Even during British regime during 1914-16, owing to opposition by saints, Hindus, dozens of princely states and local people, they had cancelled the proposal of construction of building dam at Bhagirathi point (mainstream of the Ganga from where a stream reaches out to Har-Ki-Pauri). Pt Madan Mohan Malviya had mobilised and unified the people at that time. Similar movement is needed to ensure sanctity and reverence of holy Ganga, which we deem as mother,” said Anshul Shrikunj, the convyeor of the mission.

When contacted, former chief minister Harish Rawat told HT that that the government order was issued to safeguard the interests of local traders and commercial activities, but later he realised that it was a mistake. “It was a decision taken with certain aspects into consideration, but now should be nullified, to which I ask chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat to reverse this order. Large number of saints, teerth purohits and Ganga activists have met me in this regard in recent time and I extend support to them in this regard. Now, ball is in BJP government’s court to take a step in right direction,” said Harish Rawat.

Haridwar city legislator and minister for urban planning Madan Kaushik blamed the previous Congress government for the situation. However, he didn’t specified why for past one year the BJP-led government has not declared this order void or cleared its stance on it. Though, he said that last year during his visit to Har-Ki-Pauri, CM Trivendra Singh Rawat had made it clear that the mistake committed by the previous government will be rectified.

First Published: May 21, 2018 22:05 IST