Putting doubts about the Char Dham yatra in view of Joshimath subsidence to rest, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Monday said the forthcoming pilgrimage will be conducted safely.
Talking to reporters in Raiwala near Rishikesh on the concluding day of the Pradesh BJP's executive committee meeting, Dhami said no one should have any doubts in their mind about Joshimath, the gateway to Badrinath.
"I have repeatedly said that 70 per cent of people in Joshimath are living a normal life and the roads to nearby Badrinath and Auli are fully open.
"Char Dham yatra will be conducted absolutely safely like before. A record number of pilgrims came for the yatra in the last season. This year too all arrangements will be made for pilgrims," Dhami said.
Efforts will also be made at the party level to lift people's spirit, he said.
He also criticised the Congress for raising the issue of Joshimath during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, saying the party is highlighting the issue in a different way during the yatra to tarnish the state's image outside.
"The opposition is starved of issues," he said.
On Joshimath residents demanding scrapping of development projects holding them responsible for the Joshimath crisis, Dhami said some people under the influence of some forces are doing this.
"Scrapping all development projects is no solution. It is not good either for the state or for the country. But yes, a balance between economy and ecology will be maintained while taking up development projects," he said.
Saving Joshimath, maintaining its identity as a culturally, religiously and strategically important town and rehabilitating the affected people properly is the state government's commitment, Dhami said.