Radha Kund, 2017.02.04 (VT): Govardhan parikrama should not be a life-threatening affair.
The pilgrimage walk around Govardhan Hill has become increasingly dangerous in recent years due to heavy automobile traffic. On big parikrama days, police officers are posted at Dan Ghati to prevent devotees offering dandavat from being crushed by cars.
In places like Radhakund, where the parikrama marg is very narrow, there is often a standoff between cars coming from both directions, disturbing the pilgrims with their blaring horns and making the marg impassable even on foot. And in the more open areas, lives are put in grave danger by speeding vehicles.
The parikrama marg was never meant for cars.
Thankfully, pilgrims may soon get relief from the dangerous and irritating traffic that has clogged the parikrama marg for years.
According to local residents, the government has been planning a new ring-road, which would run parallel to the parikrama marg. This road would serve as a bypass for parikrama traffic, and cars would no longer be allowed on the main marg. News of this plan, they say, first came out in 2009, but unfortuantely nothing ever came of it.
But now, the government seems poised to take action.
Last week, land owners on Gaudhuli Marg, a rural road near Mukherai village, were served a verbal notice that the government would soon take over parts of their land to build the road.
Officials offered farmers four times the going rate for land lost, though the rates will vary according to zone as the road progresses. According to the notice, construction will begin after the harvest, which puts the starting date for construction around April or May of 2017.
Locals are happy with the situation, but some will have to make sacrifices.
Shiv Das, the director of Shri Krishna Sudama Gaushala and Peacock Sanctuary, commented, “We [the gaushala] are the only victims as we have a big construction, a big boundary wall, and these will be demolished. I am afraid some of our cows may escape, and trespassing will be made easy until we can rebuild. I cannot build a new wall before they demolish the old one, because I will try to use the same materials to construct the new wall.
“But the project in general is a great idea.”