Yamunotri Current Affairs - 2019
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The Supreme Court has given its nod to Chardham Development Plan which connects the holy places of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath by all-weather roads.
What is the issue?
The construction of all weather roads in the environmentally critical zone of Himalayas was questioned in the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The National Green Tribunal had cleared the Chardham Project and had formed an oversight committee to monitor the environmental safeguards during the construction of the project.
This order was questioned in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court refused to stay the order of NGT and had asked the Centre to file its affidavit on a plea seeking a stay on the order of the NGT.
Significance of Chardham Yatra
As per Hindu traditions, Char Dham Yatra opens the gates of salvation by washing away all the sins. The term Chardham is believed to be coined by Shri Adi Shankaracharya, which means four abodes of God or Holy Destinations.
The Yatra begins from Yamunotri, then the pilgrims head to Gangotri, thereafter to Kedarnath and finally to Badrinath to complete the Chardham Yatra.
Yamunotri is the source of the sacred Yamuna River. According to Hindu Mythology, Yamuna was the sister of Yamraj and she was promised by Yamraj that whoever takes the holy dip in the Yamuna River will not be taken to Yamlok and they would attain salvation. Yamunotri is also the seat of Goddess Yamuna.
Gangotri i.e. Gomukh is the birth place of the Holy River Ganga. The stone on which King Bhagirath did meditation to bring Goddess Ganga to earth is located near Ganga Temple in Gangotri. A temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga is located in this pious area.
Kedarnath is one of the twelve jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and the temple is believed to be restored by Adi Shankaracharya.
Badrinath is considered as the most sacred among the four shrines and is located on the left bank of the Alaknanda River. The temple at Badrinath is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the protector and preserver of the divine Hindu Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva). It is also believed that Adi Shankaracharya got freedom from the process of reincarnation at Badrinath.
The Chardham Development Plan is the project of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
PRASAD Scheme: Centre includes Gangotri, Yamunotri in Uttarakhand, Amarkantak in MP and Parasnath in Jharkhand
Union Government has included Gangotri and Yamunotri in Uttrarakhand, Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh and Parasnath in Jharkhand under Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) to develop pilgrimage and heritage destinations in the country. With the new additions, the number of sites under PRASAD has now reached to 41 in 25 states.
It was launched in 2014-15 by Union Ministry of Tourism. It aims at integrated development of pilgrimage destinations in planned, prioritised and sustainable manner to provide complete religious tourism experience. It focuses on the development and beautification of the identified pilgrimage destinations.
- Harness pilgrimage tourism for its direct and multiplier effect upon employment generation and economic development.
- Enhance tourist attractiveness in sustainable manner by developing world class infrastructure in the religious destinations.
- It also seeks to promote local art, culture, handicraft, cuisine, etc.
Infrastructure development under this scheme includes
- Development of entry points (road, rail and water transport), last mile connectivity, basic tourism facilities like Information/interpretation centers, ATM/ money exchange.
- Development of eco-friendly modes of transport, lighting and illumination with renewable energy sources, drinking water, parking, toilets, waiting rooms, first aid centers, craft bazars/haats/souvenir shops/cafeteria, rain shelters, telecom facilities, internet connectivity etc.
Under it, Ministry of Tourism provides Central Financial Assistance (CFA) to State Governments for promoting tourism at identified destinations. For components within public funding under this scheme, Central Government will provide 100% fund. For improved sustainability of project, it also seeks to involve Public Private Partnership (PPP) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as well.