Following surge in corona virus cases after the recently concluded Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, the Uttarakhand government on Thursday (April 29) suspended the Char Dham Yatra scheduled next month.
The chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat made this announcement a day after the state recorded 6,054 fresh cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours and 108 deaths. The toll is too high for a sparsely populated state like Uttarakhand.
Incidentally, India broke yet another record both in terms of registered cases and death toll in the last 24 hours. More than 3.79 lakh cases have been reported. Besides, 3,645 people lost their lives which is the highest number in the country so far. It was only on April 27 that India became the third country after the United States and Brazil to cross the death toll of two lakhs.
According to the chief minister holding the Yatra when the pandemic is showing no signs of let up is not possible. He said only priests of the four temples at Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri would perform rituals and puja.
Earlier, the state government had given its green signal to the Char Dham Yatra scheduled from May 14.
The Rawat government appears to be taking extra care this time as he came under strong criticism for throwing open the Kumbh Mela last month leading to a huge gathering for several weeks in Haridwar. On a couple of auspicious days as high as 32-33 lakh devotees took a dip in river Ganga.
Many pilgrims died of corona which included priests too. When the situation went out of hand the Uttarakhand government asked the Railways to stop the movement of all the trains in the state between April 11 and 14.
Several experts attribute the rise in corona virus cases in Uttarakhand and neighbouring states to this huge gathering during the Kumbh Mela.