The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday notified Mathura and neighboring Barsana as “pavitra teerth sthal” (sacred pilgrimage sites). It added the liquor and meat shops will be banned with immediate effect in the area.
An official statement issued by the government stated, “Vrindavan area in Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna and his elder brother Balram and is a world-famous site. Barsana is Radha’s birthplace. Lakhs of tourists visit these places to pay obeisance. Keeping in mind their importance and in view of tourism, these are declared as holy pilgrimage places.”
Principal Secretary (Religious Affairs) Avinish Kumar Awasthi said such an order was earlier issued for Hardwar before the state was bifurcated. “from now, meat and liquor shops will be prohibited in these notified areas…. Vrindavan and Barsana are the first two places to be notified as teerth sthal in government records,” The Indian Express quoted Singh as saying.
This apart, the departments of urban development, excise, food and drug administration, general administration were directed to implement the orders in next three months. The state government merged Vrindavan nagar panchayat with Mathura municipal board to create Mathura municipal corporation. However, many people see the move to woo the voters ahead of municipal polls next month.
Claiming that the ‘Braj Bhoomi’ is very close to Yogi’s heart, Chaudhary said that the CM will visit this pious land for the fourth time in a month on Nov 1.
The minister said that the primary objective behind declaring these towns as pilgrimage sites is to honour the sentiments of devotees, who are hurt by the operations of liquor and meat shops here. “These towns have national importance and because of their history, India is also called ‘Vishwa Guru’. The move will help in restoring the age-old traditions of these places.”
Chaudhary added that Barsana will be upgraded from nagar panchayat to nagar palika after the civic body elections and that a proposal in this regard is already under consideration. He said that the central government has approved Rs 350 crore proposal for Yamuna cleaning here and estimates for laying sewerage lines has also been prepared.