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Uttarakhand Cabinet meets on Ganga ghat
Wants world heritage status for the holy river
Sandeep Rawat
Tribune News Service

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (right) taking a dip in the Ganga before holding a meeting of his council of ministers on the banks of the river at Haridwar on Friday.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (right) taking a dip in the Ganga before holding a meeting of his council of ministers on the banks of the river at Haridwar on Friday. Tribune photo: Rameshwar Gaur

Haridwar, April 30
This year’s Maha Kumbh in Haridwar will be known for many firsts like the bath of deities from all over Uttarakhand and the fourth shahi snan by all akhadas. In yet another first, the Uttarakhand Council of Ministers, led by Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, took a dip in the Ganga and then held a cabinet meeting at Har-ki-Pauri today.

Held on the lines of the cabinet meeting of the Nepalese government at the Mount Everest base camp last December to highlight the effects of global warming on the Himalayas, this hill state’s cabinet meeting was held to champion the cause for saving the Ganga from pollution. A six-point resolution was passed with focus on cleaning the holy river, which has religious and mythological significance for Indians. The resolution will be forwarded to the Centre with the demand of according world heritage status to the Ganga.

A Ganga Conservation Authority, which will be an autonomous body, will be formed. Its focus will be cleaning Ganga, maintaining its sanctity, flow and religious-mythological significance.

It was quite a different experience for the 13-member Council of Ministers to first take a bath in the Ganga and then sat on the ghat for the meeting, far from the well-furnished air-conditioned secretariat rooms.

A five-year limit has been set to monitor the cleaning of the Ganga from its origin in the Gangotri glacier till Haridwar under the project, “Ganga Nirmal Yojana”.

“We held this meeting on the Ganga ghat to give the message of our government’s seriousness over making the holy river pollution-free. Besides, with the Kumbh just concluding a day earlier, we though what better occasion would it be than to convey the message of Ganga cleaning and take substantial steps towards it by holding a meeting on the Ganga ghat,” said Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank while talking to The Tribune. He said the drive to stop discharge of effluents into the river would be stepped up.

Apart from cabinet’s decision on the Ganga, the formation of a separate Kumbh authority was also taken with the aim of making the Maha Kumbh and Ardh Kumbh preparations more structured and round-the-year exercise, lessening the pressure on the mela administration, which is normally formed a year before the commencement of these twin mega fairs every 12 and six years respectively. The decision also envisages bringing the Kanwar mela and other yearly festive baths held in Haridwar under the Kumbh authority so that all religious events in the Kumbh city get well organised and coordinated and pressure on the district administration is lessened.

Finally, the cabinet passed a resolution thanking the people of Haridwar, pilgrims, tourists, the mela administration, police personnel, the media and all those who contributed in making this century’s first Maha Kumbh a successful and peaceful event.





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