Candid Notes

Friday, 17 May 2024 | Gajendra Singh Negi | Dehradun

The recent decision of the Uttarakhand High Court regarding shifting the HC has ignited a fierce public debate over the seat of justice in a State where the seat of power- the permanent capital- is still undecided even after 24 years of its creation. The ongoing debate and the referendum ordered by the court on the issue have also broadened the Garhwal- Kumaon regional fault-lines in the State and given a chance to politicians to score brownie points.However, amid the raging deliberations on the issue, one conveniently overlooks the fact that the HC order is actually a severe indictment of the policies of the successive State governments which virtually ignored the key aspect of healthcare development in mountainous areas and this seems ironical in a State which had its genesis in the discrimination of mountainous areas aside from the aspect of separate identity. In its order, the court lamented the lack of health facilities in Nainital, which, apart from being the seat of HC, is an important hill station of the State. With this pathetic status of health services in Nainital, one can well understand the situation in other areas in the mountains of Garhwal and Kumaon and plight of poor residents who seem indifferent to the debate over where ideally the HC needs to be shifted.

Facing all- round flak for its failure to efficiently manage the world famous Char Dham Yatra which started last week, a harried administration is now blaming unprecedented rush of the pilgrims for the chaos and the traffic jams on the Yatra route. The logic of surging crowds sparking chaos for the Yatra this year stands partially correct, but this can hardly absolve the administration of its abject failure to draw up a proper plan for the Yatra this year. Apart from the increase in the number of pilgrims, the pitiable condition of the much- hyped ‘All-Weather Road’ is primarily responsible for the frequent traffic jams en-route to the Dhams. A brief spell of torrential rains on Saturday morning triggered landslides and partial collapse of roads at many places, exposing the engineering and technical lacuna in the construction of the roads being made under the mega Rs 12,000 crore project. The road-widening work on many stretches of the project is still incomplete and gaping potholes welcome the travellers at many places, making their journey bumpy, long and frustrating.

The ban imposed by  Uttarakhand government on making reels and videos within 50 metres radius of the sacred Char Dham in the State will help in easing pilgrim load in these shrines and maintaining their religious and spiritual sanctity. In recent years, the problems associated with mobile phones have become glaring enough to prompt authorities to ban them in many religious places across the country.  It is observed that the staying time of the pilgrims in the premises of the shrines has increased with the devotees engaging in taking pictures and making video calls to their near and dear ones after paying obeisance to the deity in the temple. Many are seen making videos and reels for monetary benefits inside the temple premises which not only violate the sacredness of the place but also hurt the sentiments of the devotees who want to spend peaceful moments in the abode of gods. It will, however, be interesting to see how effectively authorities will implement the ban order in the shrines.

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