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Covid-negative certificate must for devotees: Govt issues SOPs for Kumbh Mela

A Hindu priest walks across a bridge on the river Ganges freshly painted for the upcoming Kumbh mela in Haridwar, India, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. This year Maha Kumbh Mela will be held at Haridwar from middle of January to April. It is the largest religious gathering in the world, which is held every 12 years in rotation at the four holy Hindu places in India, which witness the coming together of millions of pilgrims to take a dip in the holy river. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup) (AP)Premium
A Hindu priest walks across a bridge on the river Ganges freshly painted for the upcoming Kumbh mela in Haridwar, India, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. This year Maha Kumbh Mela will be held at Haridwar from middle of January to April. It is the largest religious gathering in the world, which is held every 12 years in rotation at the four holy Hindu places in India, which witness the coming together of millions of pilgrims to take a dip in the holy river. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup) (AP)

  • The state government has also asked the Centre for 20,000 additional vaccines
  • The state governments have been directed to deploy only those healthcare personnel on duty who have been provided the COVID-19 vaccine shot

Centre on Sunday issued guidelines (SOP) for Kumbh Mela amid novel coronavirus pandemic.

All devotees attending the 'mela' should register with Uttarakhand Govt and obtain a compulsory Covid-19-negative medical certificate from Community Health Centre/ District hospital/ Medical college in their State, the guidelines stated.

The central government has also acknowledged that since the Mahakumbh receives devotees from various states of the country as well as from abroad, it is necessary to take precaution. To be sure, the state government has asked the Centre for 20,000 additional vaccines.

Moreover, the state governments have been directed to deploy only those healthcare personnel on duty who have been provided the COVID-19 vaccine shot. Instructions have been issued to vaccinate the healthcare workers who will be on duty at the Kumbh Mela.

The Maha Kumbh Mela began on January 14, 2021, and will end in April. Due to the pandemic, this year the Kumbh Mela will be held for 48 days in Haridwar instead of three-and-a-half months. The Maha Kumbh is celebrated in a cycle of 12 years at four river-bank pilgrimage sites. The fair will conclude on April 27.

Meanwhile, as the ‘mela’ started, government officials, as many as 7,11,000 devotees performed rituals at Har ki Pairi during the time of Aarti.

Earlier, the Uttarakhand government on Friday authorised the Garhwal Commissioner and the Kumbh Mela official to allocate works up to worth 5 crore and 2 crore respectively to speed up preparations for the forthcoming Kumbh Mela in Haridwar.

The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat here on Friday evening, Cabinet minister Madan Kaushik told reporters.

The cabinet also gave its nod to release 3.79 crore for payment of scholarship dues to scheduled caste students of Class 9 and 10 of 2017-18 and 2018-19 sessions.

It also decided to allocate 4.384 hectares of land in Haridwar free of cost to the governing bodies of saints and seers for bhu-samadhi (land burial) of sadhus when they leave for heavenly abode, Kaushik said.

Meanwhile, The coronavirus cases rose to 95,464 in Uttarakhand on Friday with 110 more people testing positive for the infection, while three more deaths took the toll to 1,629, the Health Department said.

There are 1,795 active cases, while 90,730 people have recuperated. Pauri, Uttarkashi and Almora districts reported no positive cases on Friday, according to a bulletin.

With agency inputs

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