Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday expressed deep concern over the waste dumps in Uttarakhand’s Kedarnath amid the ‘Char Dham Yatra’. Speaking during his monthly radio address of ‘Mann Ki Baat’, he also said that contrasting images have emerged from the holy site. “At present, the holy journey of ‘Char-Dham’ in Uttarakhand is going on in our country. Thousands of devotees are reaching there every day, and especially in Kedarnath.

Prime Minister called upon people to maintain dignity of Chardham, Amarnath, Pandharpur and Jagannath Yatra pilgrimage sites. In His Mann ki Baat PM said that along with ‘Chardham Yatra’, many Yatras are nearing including ‘Amarnath Yatra’, ‘Pandharpur Yatra’ and ‘Jagannath Yatra’. He called upon people to maintain the dignity of these pilgrimage sites.

On cleanliness, the Prime Minister said the holy pilgrimage of ‘Char-Dham’ in Uttarakhand is currently underway and it is sad that filth is being spread by some pilgrims in Kedarnath.

Many people have expressed their displeasure on social media as well. He said going on a holy pilgrimage and coming across a heap of filth there is not right. He however said that there are many devotees who are worshiping in the Dham of Baba Kedar, as well as cleaning the area. Some are cleaning near the place of stay, while others are cleaning garbage along the travel route. Many organizations and voluntary organizations are also working there along with the Swachh Bharat campaign team. Mr Modi said that ‘teerth seva is as important as pilgrimage and without ‘teertha seva’, a pilgrimage is incomplete.

There are many people in Uttarakhand who are engaged in cleanliness and service. Mr Modi spoke about Manoj Bainjwal hailing from Rudraprayag. For the last 25 years, Manoj has taken it upon himself to look after the environment. Apart from running the campaign of cleanliness, he is also engaged in making holy places plastic free.

Surendra Bagwadi hailing from Guptkashi has also made cleanliness his life mantra. In Guptkashi, he regularly runs cleanliness programmes, and has named this campaign as ‘Mann Ki Baat’. Similarly, Mr Modi mentioned Champa Devi from village Devar has been teaching waste management to women of the village. She has planted hundreds of trees and has set up a stretch of forest full of greenery.

Prime Minister said Environment Day will be celebrated on the 5th of June. He said there is a need to run positive environment campaigns. He urged listeners to make some effort for cleanliness and tree plantation.

The 8th ‘International Yoga Day’ will be celebrated on 21st of June. The theme for this year is Yoga for Humanity. Mr Modi urged everyone to celebrate ‘Yoga Day’ with great enthusiasm and also take necessary precautions related to Covid. He said the situation now is looking better than earlier across the whole world. He said the pandemic has made people realize the overarching importance of health and Yoga being a great medium in ensuring the same. He added that people are experiencing the boost in physical, spiritual and intellectual well being due to Yoga.