Special arrangements are being put in place on the Chardham route to ensure that traffic jams do not continue beyond 15 minutes during the ongoing annual yatra (pilgrimage), chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has said.Rawat has not ruled out the possibility of Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting Kedarnath to attend the ceremonial reopening of the portals of the shrine on April 29.“The chief minister has not ruled out the possibility of the prime minister attending the ceremonial reopening of the portals of Kedarnath. Nor has he confirmed such reports floating in the media,” the chief minister’s media coordinator Darshan Singh Rawat said.“He clarified that there had been no confirmation from the Prime Minister’s Office whether he would attend the ceremonial reopening of the portals of Kedarnath shrine.”Modi laid the foundation stone of the Kednarpuri reconstruction project in October last year. The shrine town was struck by calamitous floods in 2013.There are, however, reports that the prime minister has given clear instructions to officials to ensure that the Kedarpuri reconstruction project is completed by early 2019.Such reports have also given rise to strong speculations that Modi “is in a hurry” as he might launch his party’s campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from the shrine town of Kedarnath.Darshan Singh, however, confirmed that the chief minister has stated that special traffic arrangements “are being put in place” to ensure a smooth flow of traffic on the Chardham yatra route.The religious circuit comprises the four Himalayan shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamnotri in Uttarakhand. The Chardham yatra began on April 18.“Special arrangements are being made to ensure that traffic jams do not continue on that (Chardham) route beyond 15 minutes,” the CM’s media coordinator quoted the CM as saying.“A proper traffic management on the Chardham route would bring a huge relief to both the pilgrims as well as the locals.”Rudraprayag district magistrate Mangesh Gildiyal said special precautions were being taken to ensure a smooth traffic flow on the Chardham route.According to reports, there are possibilities of the traffic jams occurring on that route owing to the hill cuttings being undertaken as part of the Chardham all-weather road project. It also happens to be the prime minister’s pet projectGhildiyal said work of removing the debris generated by the hill cuttings is being carried out fast.“We are trying to have the debris removed as fast as possible, for which a number of JCBs (mechanical earth removers) have been deployed on the Chardham route,” he said.The official did not rule out the possibility of the ongoing fast paced work of hill cutting triggering landslides on that route.“The JCB machines deployed at different places would, however, clear the roads of debris immediately after they would be blocked by landslides,” he said.Ghildiyal said a proposal for carrying out hill cutting on the Kedarnath route of the Chardham during night hours starting from 10 pm to 6 am was also under consideration.“A final call on that is, however, yet to be taken,” he said. Tourism minister Satpal Maharaj said in an interview with HT recently that a proposal was under consideration to stop hill cutting on the Chardham route after April 30 in view of the ongoing Chardham yatra.