Preparations are in full swing here for the 'Kumbh Mela 2021', especially for the expected rush of devotees on the Shivaratri festival when people take a ritual holy bath in the River Ganga.
The Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Department earlier said that Covid-19 standard operating procedures will remain in force throughout the duration of the event.Hand sanitiser stalls have also been put up at several places across the Mela area, which spreads over Haridwar, Pauri Garhwal and Dehradun districts of Uttarakhand.
Kumbh Mela officer, Deepak Rawat said, "The first holy bath is on 'Shivratri' and all preparations have been done for it. All in all, we have assigned duties to security personnel at the routes...Changing rooms have been built in places and we would have volunteers who would keep sanitizing the area."
"Most work has been completed, however, there are certain things that need to be done simultaneously during the Mela including sanitisation of ghats and traffic clearance," Rawat added.
Devotees will be required to register on the web portal of the Mela and their documents would be validated first before they are issued e-passes.
According to State Chief Secretary Om Prakash, People violating COVID-19 SOPs at 2021 Kumbh Mela Haridwar, will be prosecuted.
All participants will have to register on the Kumbh Mela Administration's official website and upload documents including a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report, taken up to 72 hours prior, after which, an e-pass will be generated.
"During the mela, pilgrims must maintain a distance of 6 feet and wear masks. Those coming from abroad will have to follow guidelines prescribed by the Union Health Ministry," a statement quoted the Chief Secretary.
Meanwhile, a centralised control room has been set up at Haridwar railway station ahead of Kumbh Mela 2021, the Kumbh Mela Administration said on Saturday.
"All the nearby railway stations have been connected through CCTV, with their feed being streamed at this control room. A telephone line has also been set up at the centre," it said.
The Uttarakhand government has decided to limit the Kumbh this year to 30 days due to pandemic.
Kumbh Mela is a religious pilgrimage, one of the largest mass gatherings at one place. It is celebrated four times over a course of 12 years and spans four river-bank pilgrimage sites, namely Prayagraj, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik.(ANI)