The major Hindu pilgrimage festival Kumbh-Mela, which attracts lakhs of people to sacred river bank sites in Haridwar and Allahabad is set to begin on Thursday, with the concerned administrations gearing up to ensure all Covid-preventive measures are put in place. Coronavirus tests, testing kiosks and restrictions on entering Uttarkhand have also been implemented. Take a look at the various measures:
◕ Uttarakhand HC Orders State Govt to Conduct 50,000 Covid Tests in Fest Area
The Uttarakhand High Court has ordered the state government to conduct 50,000 Covid-19 tests daily in Kumbh Fest area in the wake of Covid-19. The court has directed for the deployment of mobile medical facilities and qualified medical teams at parking and ghat areas.
The High Court has also directed the state government to strictly comply with the Covid-19 Standard of Proceedure issued by the Centre, and has sought a report on the same by April 13.
◕ Covid Testing Kiosks at Uttarakhand Border
Meanwhile, ANI has reported that coronavirus testing kiosks have been set up at the borders of Uttarakhand ahead of the Mela. (Visuals from Narsan border, Haridwar.)
Uttarakhand: Haridwar Kumbh Mela 2021 to begin from tomorrow. COVID testing kiosks set up by the administration at the borders of the state to test the people coming from outside. Visuals from Narsan border, Haridwar. pic.twitter.com/wnXrJlO6Px— ANI (@ANI) March 31, 2021
◕ Modified SOP on Kumbh Mela to be Issued After 32 Test Positive at Ashram
ANI reported that the Uttarakhand government will issue a modified standard operating procedure (SOP) on April 1 for this year’s Haridwar Kumbh Mela after 32 people tested positive for the coronavirus disease at an ashram. “From April 1-30, SOPs will have to be followed strictly. Documents will be verified at entry points for outsiders. No such requirement is needed for locals,” ANI quoted a senior police officer as saying.
◕ Mandatory for People from 12 States to Give Negative Covid Report Upon Entering Uttarakhand
Amid a surge in Covid-19 cases and ahead of the Kumbh Mela, the Uttarakhand government on Tuesday made it mandatory for people coming from a dozen states to furnish negative RT-PCR test reports not older than 72 hours on arrival. Issuing the advisory, Chief Secretary Om Prakash said the restriction would apply to those coming from Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan by road, air and trains from April 1.
People coming from these states, including those residing in Uttarakhand, shall strictly adhere to the norms of safety and social distancing as per the guidelines of the Home Affairs and the Health ministries and that of the state government, the advisory said. Violations will be punishable under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the Epidemics Act, 1897, and relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, it said.
Along with this, the February 26 order regarding the “SOP for prevention and control of COVID-19 during the Maha Kumbh Mela 2021 at Haridwar” shall be strictly followed, an official told ANI.
◕ U’khand DGP Administers Oath to Over 10k Security Personnel for Safe Kumbh
Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar had a few days ago administered an oath to over 10,000 police personnel and paramilitary staff on the banks of the Ganga here to conduct a safe and grand Kumbh Mela while behaving decently with the devotees. The paramilitary staff included those from CRPF and ITBP. The Uttarakhand Police chief asked the personnel deployed on Kumbh duty to conduct the event successfully while ensuring strict compliance to the COVID-19 protocol.
Organising the congregation this year amid rising cases of coronavirus is a huge challenge for the security agencies. The large gatherings of devotees for a holy dip in the Ganga here on the occasions of Makar Sankranti and Mahashivratri has been considered as a trial run for the three main bathing dates of April 12, 14 and 28 Normally held for four months from January to April, the duration of Kumbh this year has been shortened to just one month for the safety of pilgrims owing to the pandemic. Earlier, the DGP performed a puja at the Har ki Pauri ghat in the presence of IG Sanjay Gunjyal and Mela SSP Janmejay Khanduri.