Ganga’s status in Haridwar to be restored finally as CM vows to scrap Congress order
Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Sunday announced that the state government will soon scrap the order that had given escape channel status to Ganga stretch at Har-Ki-Pauri in Haridwar.
Rawat made this announcement before meeting Akhada Parishad representatives at his residence in connection with the preparations for 2021 Kumbh. Rawat said the decision has been taken given the long pending demand of saints and priests and to respect the sentiments of people.
Congress-led government on December 14, 2016, had issued an order declaring part of Ganga from Sarvanand ghat, Bhoopatwala till Shri Daksheshwar Mahadev temple, passing through sanctum sanctorum of Brahahmkund, Har-Ki-Pauri as an escape channel. This meant Har-Ki-Pauri ghat is not on the main river Ganga course and thus didn’t come under National Green Tribunal (NGT) directive regarding the prohibition on construction activities within 100 metre of the Ganga river.
The declaration had come in the wake of NGT making “no development zone” within 100 metres of the Ganga on both sides of the river bed.
In July this year, ex-Congress chief minister Harish Rawat had sought an apology from the saint community for issuing the government order in 2016, asking BJP led government to render it null and void.
Akhada Parishad, saints, local priests, traders and Ganga activists have welcomed the decision to scrap the previous Congress-led state government’s order.
Rawat assured Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad president Mahant Narendra Giri-led saint delegation on Sunday of scrapping the order with a notification to be issued on Monday in this regard.
Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad general secretary said though it is a bit late, restoration of the old status of Har-Ki-Pauri stream flow as being a part of mainstream Ganga, is a welcome development.
Ganga Sabha, which manages affairs of Har-Ki-Pauri, expressed gratitude to CM for announcing to scrap the Congress government order of 2016.
Urban development minister Madan Kaushik hailed the decision saying the BJP government has nullified the wrongdoing of the previous Congress-led government and by Monday government notification will be issued.
Local saints and priests who were staging an indefinite sit-in agitation at Har-Ki-Pauri for the past one month also ended their agitation with this announcement.
Elated, the local priests also offered milk to deity Ganga following the announcement.
One of the representatives of local priests, Saurabh Shikhaula, said that had BJP led state government further delayed the scrapping of the order, they would have intensified their agitation.
“Since ancient times, Brahamkund, Har-Ki-Pauri is one of the revered places for taking holy Ganga dip, performing rituals and hosting Kumbh fairs. How come it became an escape channel of Ganga Canal when the Ganga Canal was built by Britishers during 1840-1850. It was unacceptable for not only priests here but also pilgrims who arrive at Har-Ki-Pauri for religious and spiritual reasons. Our sentiments were hurt when we see, on government papers, Har-Ki-Pauri is deemed as part of a canal and not that the main course of sacred Ganga,” said Shikaula.
Meanwhile Opposition Congress, too, has welcomed the move and said it will restore the status of Har- ki- Pauri as Ganga ghat.
“CM’s announcement has rectified the mistake done in 2016 by then CM Harish Rawat, who a few months ago, accepted it and urged the present government to revoke the order related to it,” said Dhirendra Pratap Singh, state Congress vice-president.