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Current Affairs

Char Dham Act withdrawal

Date: 02 December 2021 Tags: Bills & Laws

Issue

The Uttarakhand government has announced that the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act will be withdrawn.

 

Background

The withdrawal of act will dissolve the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board, which is being opposed by various sections.

 

Details

  • The Uttarakhand Char Dham Shrine Management Bill, 2019 was introduced in the state assembly in December 2019.

  • The Char Dham of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri and 49 other temples were supposed to come under the control of the board.

 

Composition of the board

The Chief Minister was the chairman and the minister for religious affairs the vice-chairman of the board. The MLAs of Gangotri and Yamunotri, Chief Secretary of state were other members.

 

Functions

  • Highest governing body for the management of the temples

  • Frame policies

  • Execute provisions of the Act

  • Budget formulation and sanction expenditure

  • Safe custody, prevention and management of funds, valuable securities, jewellery and properties 

 

Prior to the board

  • The Shri Badrinath-Shri Kedarnath Act, 1939 was in existence for the governance of Badrinath and Kedarnath.

  • Shri Badrinath- Shri Kedarnath Mandir Samiti governed 45 other temples.  A government-appointed person was the chairperson.

 

Concerns

  • The government tried to get control of the entire area and donations by setting up the shrine board.

  • Traditional stakeholders such as Priests, pandas and Rawals expressed fears that they would lose their say in management of shrines.

 

Implications on state politics

  • The setting up of the Char Dham board was one of the reasons for removal of Trivendra Singh Rawat as the Chief Minister of the state.

  • The successor announced the review of the board. The latest Chief Minister promised to withdraw the board by November 30.

  • The opposition parties, Congress and AAP have extended support to the agitation and branded the government ‘dharma virodhi’.