Uttarakhand: Temple takeover {Excerpt]

Source: – https://www.indiatoday.in

In 2005, then Uttarakhand chief minister Narayan Dutt Tiwari had to withdraw a bill to take over the management of prominent temples in the state after his fellow Congress MLAs revolted. Fourteen years later, on the last day of the winter session, current chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat of the BJP successfully stewarded the Uttarakhand Devasthanam Management Bill through the state assembly. Once this becomes law, the new provisions will allow the state government to take over the management of 51 temples in Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.

The Tiwari regime stopped at setting up the Badrinath Kedarnath Temple Committee (BKTC), which continues to manages these temples. The shrines, which are open only in the summer months, received over 3 million pilgrims and donations worth Rs 12 crore in 2018-19. The numbers had gone down after the 2013 flash floods, but bounced back after the temples reopened.

A senior Union cabinet minister in Delhi said the new law would help modernise facilities at the shrines. The BJP-led central government is linking four prominent Hindu pilgrimage sitesBadrinath, Dwarka, Jagannath Puri and Rameshwaramalong with 12 jyotirlingas, including Kedarnath, with highway nodes and railheads.

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