Mahakumbh 2021 begins in Haridwar with Covid guidelines

Express News Service
DEHRADUN: Mahakumbh 2021 officially started on Thursday. The religious congregation, which occurs once every 12 years, will conclude on April 30. 

Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat, while interacting with media through video conferencing, said, “Every arrangement is in place to make the Mahakumbh as grand as possible as well as safe for pilgrims. The infrastructure, crowd management, health, and other issues were kept in mind while planning for the event.”

The government has spent Rs 700 crore for the facilities, officials said.

The mela area has 11,700 toilets, 6,674 urinals, 157.65 kilometres of roads, a 159-bed hospital with requisite medical staff and various other arrangements including a surveillance system.

In all, 38 temporary hospitals, 200 doctors and 1,500 paramedical staff have also been on the job in the mela area, said officials. 

The Centre on Thursday allocated an additional amount of Rs 325 crore for the event to cover the shortcomings in terms of infrastructure and other things. 

More than 12,000 police and 400 personnel of the central forces have been already deployed, the numbers of which will be increased before April 14 given the biggest Shahi Snan (Royal Bath).

On April 14, which is also the day of the Baisakhi festival, the estimates suggest that over 1 crore devotees may visit Haridwar. Officials also added that over 2 crore devotees can visit Haridwar between April 11-14. 

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State DGP Ashok Kumar said: “We have made all necessary arrangements for successful and safe Mahakumbh. I will be camping at the Mela area from April 11-14.”

During the Mahakumbh, the first royal bath events will be on April 12 (Somwati Amavasya), April 14 (Baisakhi Kumbh snan) and April 27 (Chaitra Purnima). 

The new CM has made the Mahakumbh his priority. His first order as the CM was to shower flowers on the occasion of Shahi Snan (Royal Bath) on Mahashivratri on March 11. 

Total 13 Akhadas are participating in Mahakumbh. Over 12 crore pilgrims are expected to participate in the event which spans over months. More than 100 drones will be monitoring the congregation round the clock along with 1,500 CCTVs. 

The main attraction of the event will be a helicopter service which will offer ariel view of the religious event at a cost of Rs 4,130. The service is especially for the event from April 1-30. 

The mela area includes places in Haridwar, Dehradun as well as Tehri district of the hill state.

The state government has also deployed 500 buses for pilgrims who want to travel to Haridwar from various parts of the country. 

Earlier this week, in the wake of Mahakumbh the Uttarakhand made it mandatory to carry RT-PCR Covid test report for people travelling to Uttarakhand from the states with a high caseload.

The advisory released on Tuesday evening which became effective from April 1 stated, “Persons travelling from the states namely; Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan by road, air and train to Uttarakhand are advised to carry negative RT-PCR test report (test done 72 hours prior to the time of arrival in Uttarakhand State).”