DEHRADUN, INDIA, November 30, 2021 (The Wire): The Uttarakhand government on Tuesday said it would scrap the Devasthanam Board which has drawn flak from the priests of Char Dham shrines. Chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said that after studying all the aspects pointed out by the high-power committee headed by senior BJP leader Manohar Kant Dhyani, his government has decided to withdraw the Chardham Devasthanam Board Act (CDBA). The CDBA was conceptualized by CM Trivendra Singh Rawat in 2019 to overhaul the management of 51 temples, including Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, Yamunotri which were under the control of the local priest community. The move had irked the priest community which termed it as an “anti-Hindu” decision of the state government. The priests also claimed that the board existed to make industrialists money at their expense.

The priest community has welcomed the state government’s reversal, hailing the decision to restore “Hindu tradition and rituals”. A Gangotri-based priest Rajnikant Semwal said, “From day one, we have been asking why if the state government has no control over the management of churches or mosques, it is pushing hard to take over temples. The state government must focus on paying the salaries of transport corporation employees, Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam and other departments instead of taking over the Char Dham.”

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