CPM calls for regulating religious tourism

Senior CPM leader Sitaram Yechury has demanded regulating religious tourism. In an editorial to the forthcoming issue of party mouthpiece “People’s Democracy,” he has said that such a regulation should be in place for religious centres in the country.

The attention of the government has been drawn to the regulation of religious tourism by the parliamentary standing committee as well as the Planning Commission. Yet no such regulation mechanism has been made, leave  alone Uttarakhand, he said.

 “Such regulations must be enforced in all pilgrimage centres in the country,” he said. Yechury has drawn attention to the increase in the number of pilgrims visiting the shrines of Uttarakhand.

“Both these religious shrines have witnessed a four-fold increase of visitors in the last decade. Between 2003 and 2012, Kedarnath’s number grew from 1.7 lakh to over 5.75 lakh and in Badrinath it went up from 1.34 to nearly 6 lakh.

“Incidentally, during the same period, the inflow of foreign tourists declined ten fold. In the same period, there has been a five-time increase in the registration of passenger vehicles, 70 per cent of which are devoted to ferrying pilgrims,” he said.
He has also attacked the Uttarakhand government for ignoring ecological factors.

“Six such major cloudbursts have taken place in the state  since 1998. The destruction of forests and the unscientific damming of rivers has created a deadly cocktail for such disasters to recur,” he added.

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