Court asks Uttarakhand government to submit details of Mahakumbh preparations

  • One million visitors are expected to attend the Mahakumbh on routine days while about five million are expected for Shahi Snaans (royal baths)
Ganga in Haridwar, where the Mahakumbh is to be held shortly.(HT Photo)
Ganga in Haridwar, where the Mahakumbh is to be held shortly.(HT Photo)
Published on Feb 23, 2021 08:20 AM IST
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ByNeeraj Santoshi | Edited by Abhinav Sahay, Dehradun

Uttarakhand high court on Monday directed the state government to submit a detailed affidavit on its preparations for implementation of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) released by Centre on Kumbh and what yet remains to be done by March 3.

The court also directed Uttarakhand chief secretary to submit details such as how many frontline workers were given Covid-19 vaccination in Haridwar and how much medical staff is available for Kumbh.

The division bench comprising chief justice RS Chauhan and justice Alok Kumar Verma gave these directions while hearing a bunch of PILs filed by Sachdanand Dabral, Dushyant Mainali, and Rajendra Arya related to various issues regarding the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic in the state.

Shiv Bhatt, counsel of Sachdanand Dabral said the court was not happy with the affidavit on Mahakumbh.

“The court has directed the state government through Mela officer and chief secretary to file an affidavit by March 3 on preparations completed so far and yet to be completed, and para-wise details about the implementation of the SOP issued by Centre on January 22 this year. The court has sought details about the number of frontline workers that have been vaccinated so far and the list of Kumbh related infrastructural works completed and yet to be completed,” said Bhatt. The next hearing in the matter has been fixed on March 5, 2021.

One million visitors are expected to attend the Mahakumbh on routine days while about five million are expected for Shahi Snaans (royal baths). The Centre issued the SOPs on Mahakumbh last month after the state government approached it for the same on the order of Uttarakhand high court.

The SOPs make it mandatory for all the devotees to carry an RT-PCR negative test report for Covid-19, done within 72 hours. It also says that all the devotees should get a medical report from a competent medical authority near their house on the lines of Amaranth Yatra before attending the mega-event in Haridwar. It has asked the state government to ensure that the aforementioned reports are checked by the Mela authorities and to not allow anyone without them. Similarly, it has also asked the state government to discourage devotees aged above 65 years, pregnant women and children under 10 years of age from attending the event. It also asked the state to only deploy vaccinated healthcare and frontline workers at the Mahakumbh to ensure their protection from the disease.

Also Read: Expert team widens mouth of Rishiganga lake by 15ft to prevent repeat tragedy

Before the epidemic, over 12 crore pilgrims were expected to participate in the four-month-long Mahakumbh. However, now, given the epidemic, it is not clear yet how many pilgrims would actually turn up for the Kumbh, whose duration is proposed to be limited to one month or so.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2021