On Thursday, the Kumbh Mela officially began in Haridwar with several constraints among increasing cases of Covid-19 viruses in various states including Uttarakhand. Officials connected with conducting the Kumbh Mela, including Mela Officer Deepak Rawat, Mela IG Sanjay Gunjyal and Haridwar SSP Janmejay Khanduri, visited the temples along the banks of the Ganga to pray for a safe and unhindered Kumbh fair.
Going along on Uttarakhand’s borders with Uttar Pradesh at Narsan in Roorkee and Kashipur in Udham Singh Nagar district has been strengthened to assure those only people with a negative RT-PCR test report advance for the Kumbh Mela. “Besides registering on our portal, it is compulsory for devotees to bring a negative RT-PCR test report with them,” Mela Officer Deepak Rawat said.
An RT-PCR test negative report not older than 72 hours before arrival has been made compulsory for devotees gathering for the Kumbh by the Uttarakhand High Court. In an order on Wednesday, the high court said a negative RT-PCR proof will be mandatory even in the case of believers who have received the first dose of the corona vaccine.
Believers who have taken the anti-Covid vaccination must have to show their certificates and follow the Covid-linked guidelines like wearing masks, maintaining social distance and regularly sanitizing hands in the Kumbh Kshetra.
The high court has also asked the health authorities in Haridwar to test from 5,000 per day to 50,000. Uttarakhand reported 293 positive Covid-19 cases on Wednesday with Dehradun and Haridwar districts considering for a bulk of the caseload. Dehradun reported 171 cases followed by Haridwar which reported 70, the Covid Control room in Dehradun said. It is for the first time in the history of the grand religious gathering held on the banks of the Ganga in Haridwar, once in 12 years, that its duration has been shortened to just one month due to the pandemic. In normal times, Kumbh is held for approximately four months. Its last version was held in Haridwar from January 14 to April 28 in 2010.
Between April 1 and 30, there will be three major shahi snan (bathing dates) – on April 12, 14 and 27. Other than the shahi snan dates when people drop in large numbers on the banks of the Ganga in Haridwar for a holy dip, a heavy turnout of believers is also expected on the occasion of Chaitra Pratipada on April 13 and Ram Navami on April 21.
The declared Kumbh Kshetra covers various places in Haridwar, Dehradun and Tehri districts. A total of 12,000 police and 400 personnel of the central forces will keep a focus on the Kumbh Kshetra spread over an area of 670 hectares, from Haridwar to Devprayag, to maintain law and order and ensure that the anti-Covid protocol is followed strictly. A total of 38 temporary hospitals, 200 doctors and 1,500 paramedical staff have also been dedicated for devotees in the Mela area.