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Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Delhi cancels Kanwar Yatra to prevent spread of Covid-19

The order stated that no celebrations, processions or gatherings will be allowed for the yatra starting June 25.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
July 18, 2021 8:24:17 pm
Delhi cancels Kanwar yatraThe Yatra is a pilgrimage scheduled in the Hindu calendar month of Shravana (Saavan).(File Photo)

Delhi on Sunday called off the Kanwar Yatra, a day after Uttar Pradesh also issued similar directives.

In an order passed Sunday by the Delhi Chief Secretary, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority said that since there was an “apprehension of gatherings/congregations/processions” during the Yatra, which was to start on July 25, it has been decided that it would “not be permitted in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 virus” in the capital.

The order stated that no celebrations, processions or gatherings will be allowed for the yatra starting June 25.

The Supreme Court had earlier asked UP to reconsider its decision to allow even a symbolic Yatra during the ongoing pandemic. UP government officials said that after the Supreme Court’s suo motu cognizance of the issue, the government had appealed to Kanwar associations, who agreed to call off the Yatra.

The Yatra is a pilgrimage scheduled in the Hindu calendar month of Shravana (Saavan). Shiva devotees walk barefoot with pitchers of holy water on their shoulders using decorate slings called kanwars. Thousands of devotees travelling to places such as Haridwar, Gaumukh, and Gangotri in Uttarakhand cross Delhi during their journey to the temples and back to their villages.

The important routes used by Kanwariyas include the Delhi-Moradabad NH-24, Delhi-Roorkee NH-58 via Hapur and Muzaffaranagar, Delhi-Aligarh NH-91.

The Delhi government as well as the Delhi Police usually make elaborate preparations for devotees during the Yatra. Traffic constables are stationed at important traffic junctions to make sure there are no snarls, nor any spats between the kanwariyas and the traffic on roads.

Scores of camps are set up across the city, especially in East Delhi, from where the devotees enter Delhi from UP.

In 2019, the government set up 173 camps, in addition to another 50 private camps, for devotees. Food is also provided at these camps. Arrangements for portable toilets as well as water tankers are also made.

Setting up facilities for the kanwariyas involves coordination between several agencies, including Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) and Delhi Jal Board (DJB) too.

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