Amid the standoff in Ladakh between India and China, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has said that the limit of 5.5 metres width imposed on the Chardham all-weather road by the Supreme Court was not enough from a strategic perspective.
During a virtual interaction with reporters in Dehradun, he also said that the 2021 Haridwar Kumbh will be held with a restriction on the number of people congregating for the event.
Mr Rawat who was interacting with the media on completing three and a half years in office said this kind of width limit will not allow for smooth movement of troops.
"From the strategic or national security point of view we can't make do with a 5.5 metre wide all weather road which passes through several border districts located in the mountains. The smooth movement of troops by a road with this kind of limit is not possible," he said.
The Chief Minister said he had drawn the attention of the Centre to this aspect of the Supreme Court's order and emphasised on the indispensability of a wider all-weather road.
On the Haridwar Kumbh, he said, "Passes will be issued to devotees as the congregation will be numerically restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic."
Mr Rawat said he had discussed the matter with saints and seers and they were in agreement with the idea of reducing the scale of the event numerically owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
"A numerically restricted Kumbh makes it necessary that devotees are allowed entry into the Kumbh fair on the basis of passes," Mr Rawat said.
It will be for the first time in the history of Kumbh Mela that passes will be issued to devotees for entry to the religious congregation, arguably the largest of its kind in the world.
Mr Rawat described the constitution of the Chardham Devasthanam Management Board as the biggest reformative step taken during the last 3.5 years.
"The board has been constituted after a lot of thinking and everyone including tourists, visitors and teerth-purohits are bound to benefit from the decision," he said.
Mr Rawat also highlighted the declaration of Gairsain as the summer capital of the state as a major achievement of his government as it fulfils a long cherished aspiration of the people who fought for statehood.
"By declaring Gairsain the summer capital, we have proved that we are a decisive government capable of resolving issues hanging fire for long," Mr Rawat said.
"In the last three and a half years we have accelerated development by delivering a blow to corruption and giving a clean and transparent government to people," he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)