Kanwaryatra is one of the sacred traditions which people follow enthusiastically across north India. The Kanwaryatra- the pilgrimage of those carrying the “kanwads”, hence the “kanwarias”- takes place during the month of Shravan (July- August), according to the Hindu lunar calendar. As the festival picks up pace elaborate arrangements have been made to ensure smooth movement of the pilgrims as well as the vehicles and commuters. The Ghaziabad administration declared a seven day holiday for all educational institutes located along NH-58 for the ongoing kanwaryatra, an annual pilgrimage of devotees of Lord Shiva. “Over a dozen schools, colleges, and other educational institutes which are situated on NH 58 shall remain closed till August 1”, said Additional District Magistrate Preeti Jaiswal. The number of pilgrims is expected to go over 2.5 crore. The administration has restricted heavy vehicles on NH 58 from Sunday and will restrict light vehicles from Wednesday,saidJaiswal. A 2000 strong police force has been deployed to provide security to the pilgrims. The pilgrims are arriving in Ghaziabad district which is linked to Badrinath and Mana Pass in Uttarakhand near Indo-Tibetan border by the 538 km long NH 58. This is the first time that such an order has been issued in UP. The institutions have been asked to adhere to the orders strictly as the closure order is to ensure that there is no traffic movement along the highway during the festival.
The DM has also instructed the officials to remain on their assigned duties within the district till August 1. The power department has also been asked to ensure 24×7 electricity supply.The life will be disrupted for a few days in the district but the administration has declared the strategy has been deployed for the public welfare.