Heavy police presence, safety measures in place for Navratri Mela in GurugramUpdated: Oct 16, 2020, 23:27 IST
Sheetla Mata Mandir — the oldest and the most famous temple in the city — is all set to host around 0.3-0.4 million devotees for the Navratri Mela, starting Saturday, under extensive safety measures.
To tackle the sheer volume of devotees, the temple has installed 58 CCTV cameras to keep constant surveillance, in addition to deploying 250 Gurugram Police officials, 200 temple staff members, and around 50 workers of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) at the site to keep a check on safety measures such as social distancing and the wearing of masks.
Deputy commissioner Amit Khatri on Friday also issued a new set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for all temples in the city.
The 14 guidelines listed under the district administration’s SOP includes allowing entry of devotees into temples only if they are wearing masks, no distribution of physical offerings or prasad of any kind, entry points to have mandatory hand-sanitising machines and thermal screening provisions, six feet of social distancing, paint markings to ensure distance in queues, separate entry and exit points for visitors and staggered entry among others.
“The SOPs have been issued keeping in mind the health and safety of all residents and those deployed at various temple complexes in the city. Officials concerned have been given directions to ensure compliance of listed guidelines,” said Khatri.
Yugdutt Sharma, temple officer of Sheetla Mata Mandir, said Covid-19 tests of all those stationed inside the temple have already been carried out as a safety measure, and to ensure strict compliance of safety guidelines, a heavy presence of Gurugram police, temple staff, and MCG officials will be prevalent.
“Usually, we have 0.5 TO 0.6 million visitors during the Navratri Mela. This year, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, we are anticipating around 0.3 to 0.4 million visitors. To adhere to safety measures, around 60 home guards of Gurugram Police, 200 police officials including 50 women constables, and around 50 officials of the MCG have been deployed both inside and outside the temple complex. The MCG staff will be responsible for issuing on-the-spot fines for mask violations and sanitising the temple premises while Gurugram Police officials and around 200 of our own staff members will be managing the security and adoption of other safety guidelines,” said Sharma.
MCG officials said that along with the health department, all officials and workers deployed at the temple, including the head priest, will be tested thrice for Covid-19 during the eight-day festival, once before the starting of the festival, once at the middle of the festival, and once after it ends on October 25, as a precautionary measure.
“We have made schedules for sanitising and disinfecting of all religious places across the city and deputed sanitation workers accordingly. Each religious place will be sanitised at least twice daily, during this festival period. Further, we are coordinating with the health department for carrying out tests for Covid-19,” said a senior MCG official, deployed in its health wing.
DK Bhardwaj, DCP (traffic), Gurugram Police, said that adequate deployment has been made at the temple to ensure all safety measures relating to traffic management. “We have, however, not enforced any route blockages or diversions around the roads approaching Sheetla Mata Mandir or any other religious place, at present, as we are anticipating that due to Covid-19 outbreak, the rush would be far lower than usual. Regardless, if the volume of devotees and vehicles on any stretch is high, we have deployed the necessary number of traffic marshals along stretches such as the Sheetla Mata Road to manage the situation. If need arises, we will make a traffic plan and give prior information to residents of any alterations regarding routes,” said Bhardwaj.