Meerut, July 26: As annual the pilgrimage of Shiva devotees -- Kanwar Yatra -- hits its peak celebrations in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the all important national Highway connecting Delhi and Dehradun has been closed from early on Friday. According to the Additional Director General (ADG) of police, (west UP), Prashant Kumar, the highway will remain close till late midnight July 30. Sawan Shivratri 2019: Five-Day Holiday in All Schools in Ghaziabad and Meerut Districts Due to Kanwar Yatra.
"Heavy deployment of police force is regulating the traffic on one of the busiest highways of North India. We are diverting the vehicular traffic at key points," said Kumar on phone to IANS, before charting a government helicopter from the helipad in Meerut, for aerial survey of the route, early Friday morning.
Amid terror threats, unprecedented security measures have been taken by the police of several northern Indian states to ensure a peaceful Kanwar Yatra, this season." Drones are being used extensively to monitor the sea of devotees, (expected to cross four crore) to monitor the pilgrimage.
CCTV have been installed at 57 key traffic crossings en route to Haridwar. 19 companies of PAC(armed police) have been deployed on Delhi-Dehradun highway.
Besides 6 companies of additional Central Para Military Forces(CPMF) have been stationed at various sensitive locations," said the ADG. Sources said that while conducting aerial survey, the ADG, Prashant Kumar would also shower rose petals on devotees from the helicopter, as suggested by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Last year 3.50 crore devotees of Lord Shiva had thronged to the religious city of Haridwar, situated at the holy Ganges river. " We are expecting the numbers could cross the 4 crore mark this year. The state police and civil administration is working round the clock to ensure that (till the next week) Yatra passes peacefully," said Prashant Kumar. Kanwar Yatra 2019: New App 'Kawad Yatra Management' Launched For Convenience of Pilgrims in Meerut Zone.
Till Thursday night, 1.76 crore devotees had already returned from Haridwar after fetching water from the Holy river. As a ritual, millions of devotees gather sacred water from the Ganges and carry it on foot for hundreds of miles back home where they dispense the 'Ganga jal' (water from River Ganga considered holy) in local Shiva temples.
Talking about traffic diversions, the ADG Kumar told IANS that as national highways are mainly used by the devotees, vehicular traffic would be passing through the cities and towns. For instance, vehicles going to Delhi from Dehradun would be diverted through the towns of Deoband, Rampur Tiraha, Jansath(in Muzaffarnagar), Mawana and Hapur to reach Delhi. The police in its advisory has suggested that trains could be a better subsitute for road transport, to travel between places Delhi and Dehradun for the next two weeks.