Uttarakhand government has said it will retract the controversial order by the previous Congress government declaring a stretch of the Ganga river as an escape channel and not mainstream river. The decision was taken amid mounting pressure from seers and saints.
Madan Kaushik, cabinet minister and state government spokesperson, blamed the then Congress-led Harish Rawat government for the whole fiasco, saying it hurt religious sentiments of millions of Hindus.
“Definitely we (BJP government) will scrap the previous government’s decision on Ganga stretch in Haridwar. Already, various legal aspects are being considered. But, exactly when it will be retracted, I can’t say as of now. But it will definitely be overturned and the ancient old status of Ganga stretch at Har-Ki-Pauri will be restored” said Kaushik.
The Congress-led government had issued an order declaring Ganga stretch from Sarvanand Ghat, Bhoopatwala till Shri Daknesheswar Mahadev temple, passing through sanctum sanctorum of Brahama Kund, Har-Ki-Pauri as an escape channel on December 14, 2016.
This meant Har-Ki-Pauri ghat was not on the main river Ganga course and thus did not come under NGT directive prohibiting construction activities within 100 metre of the Ganga river.
Former chief minister Harish Rawat said the controversial order was passed to safeguard the interests of local traders and commercial activities but later he realized it was a “mistake”.
The delay in scrapping the order has infuriated the priests, saints and Ganga Sabha –which manages the affairs of sanctum sanctorum of Brahamkund, Har-Ki-Pauri.
Last week former chief minister Harish Rawat sought an apology from the saint community and urged BJP-led state government to nullify the December, 2016 order.
Despite the pressure, it’s not an easy task for the BJP government as interests of many politicians, businessmen, hoteliers, lodge, dharamshalas, ashram owners and traders will get affected due to this step.
A large number of these stakeholders are either close to BJP or Congress office bearers, party workers or are in close touch with top party leaders and even with Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS).
Social-RTI activist JP Baduni, who has filed applications regarding Har-Ki-