High-powered committee set up to examine U'khand Chardham Devasthanam Board Act

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Dehradun, Jul 21 (PTI) The Uttarakhand government on Wednesday decided to constitute a high-powered committee to look into the Chardham Devasthanam Board Act and suggest 'positive amendments' in it. The act had led to the creation of Chardham Devasthanam Board last year much to the disappointment of priests and hak-hakookdharis at Himalayan temples who felt it was an infringement of their traditional rights. Announcing the setting up of a high-powered panel at a press conference in Uttarkashi, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said, 'After speaking with all stakeholders, we are in favour of positive amendments and changes in the act.' The committee will examine the legal aspects of the act to ensure that it does not adversely affect the traditional rights of the hak-hakookdharis, priests and other stakeholders connected with the Chardham Yatra, he said. 'Further decision on the Chardham Devasthanam Board will be taken in the light of the recommendations of the high-powered committee,' Dhami said. The decision has been taken to address the doubts and apprehensions often expressed by 'teerth purohits' about the act which led to the creation of the Chardham Devasthanam Board in 2020, Dhami said. However, the chief minister said better management of temples through creation of better facilities was the state government's sole objective behind constituting the board and not encroaching upon anybody's rights.

Priests of the Himalayan temples have long been demanding dissolution of the board which they see as an encroachment upon their rights.

Constituted during the chief ministership of Trivendra Singh Rawat, the Devasthanam Board is mandated to run the affairs of 51 temples in Uttarakhand, including the Chardham. However soon after taking over, former chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat announced during Kumbh that the temples will be removed from the board's control and the decision to create the panel will also be reconsidered. But Rawat had to step down before he could keep his word. PTI ALM AAR AAR

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