Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna on Sunday turned down offers from his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi and others for reconstruction of the Kedarnath temple, saying it will be done by his government and the temple committee.
However, he said anyone was welcome to contribute funds for the reconstruction of the 8th century shrine that withstood the ravage of the cloudbursts and floods that swept away its neighbourhood and much of the town.
“The construction of temple, I am very firm, and I have made it clear that it will be constructed by the state government and the temple committee. Anybody who is coming forward to make donation is most welcome,” he said.
“I am not joining issue on this with any other state or any other leader or any party. Any state, any leader, any party in India or abroad who want to help in the reconstruction of the entire Kedarnath dhaam is welcome.
“This place is a nagar panchayat. So anyone who supports us in the bid to reconstruct and rebuild the entire Kedarnath dhaam is welcome. What we require is financial aid. We have manpower and engineers to do this,” he said.
Mr. Bahuguna said the state government and temple committee were open to suggestions, but the final decision in this regard will be taken by them.
On a visit to Uttarakhand last week, Mr. Modi had said the Gujarat government would take the responsibility of reconstructing the Kedarnath temple — one of the shrines of the ‘chaar dham’ pilgrimage which attracts pilgrims from all over the country.
“Kedarnath is a sentimental issue, a religious place. We have to see how much damage has been done to the temple. The ASI will do that,” the Uttarakhand Chief Minister said.
“Then there is pressure from saints and Hindu leaders that we should start pooja in the temple. How early we can do this is not known because we cannot reach Kedarnath by foot for at least a year.
The Chief Minister said he was thankful for donations and relief material from all walks of life and places.
“We may have divergent views but our ultimate aim is to restore the damage done to infrastructure and provide better life to people of Uttarakhand,” Mr. Bahuguna said.