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Vasudha Venugopal | ET Bureau | New Delhi | May 10, 2017:: Two days after he was sworn-in, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath had announced Rs 1 lakh support, the highest by any state, to every pilgrim of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra (KMY).
It turns out that his call was heard, as for the first time, the number of registered pilgrims for the yatra has doubled with UP having the maximum number of pilgrims.
The yatra is set to begin on June 8. The number of registered yatris this year has reached 4,442, the highest ever, with UP topping the first time with 800 yatris, sources in the government told ET.
Last year, 950 of the registered 2,604 persons were able to undertake the pilgrimage. The increase in the number of pilgrims was because of a collective effort various states and the efforts of the ministry of external affairs over the last one year, said BJP leader and former Rajya Sabha member Tarun Vijay who is also the President of Kailash Mansarovar Yatri Sangh, who had started a campaign a year ago for the same purpose.
Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu too have announced special kits and grants for the yatra. A group of parliamentarians was formed last year to spread awareness about the routes, the grants and preparedness.
“We had the first meeting in February this year and around 12 MPs, including Parimal Nathwani , Narayan Lal Panchariya, Subhendu Shekhar Roy, Subhash Chandra and Anand Bhaskar Ropulu, attended the meeting. We had bureaucrats from MEA explaining every detail about the yatra,” Tarun Vijay said.
MEA makes arrangement for the yatra through two routes – Nathu La and Lipulekh — in coordination with the Chinese government. Usually, the number of pilgrims vary between 1600 and 2600. Officials said, only 18 batches from Uttarakhand and 8 from Nathu La are permitted. Tarun Vijay explained that the Uttarakhand route takes 24 days and govt charges Rs 1.6 lakhs per every yatri while Nathu La route takes 21 days- including four days of acclimatisation.
“The timely grant by CM Yogi Adityanath was in line with encouraging people from all financial backgrounds to take part in the Yatra. Kailash parbat is also the centre of our nation’s spiritual energy,” said UP BJP spokesperson Chandramohan.
“The problem was mainly lack of awareness. Very few people knew that a State like Tamil Nadu was offering 40,000 grant to each pilgrim. We used social media to promote it, gave ads in all language papers and also got Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to display posters in 250 trains,” Tarun Vijay said.
“The latest numbers are inspiring. Our target is to have atlas 25 batches from Uttarakhand and 15 batches from Nathu La and get maximum of the registered yatris medically fit to undertake the pilgrimage.”
ET View: Protect The Eco-system
The government must formulate a policy that will allow pilgrims to visit Kailash Mansarover without endangering the area. Located in the fragile Himalayan eco-system, climate change has altered the landscape, posing a threat to its continued existence, besides many species of fauna and flora, and the region’s diverse agro-biodiversity. The government in consultation with experts must devise a science and evidence-based plan that will set a limit on the number of pilgrims in the region at any given time in a manner that their needs and safety are met while ensuring the ecological integrity of the Kailash-Mansarover landscape