NSG commandos to keep watch over Mahakumbh

Express News Service
DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand government will integrate CCTV cameras with artificial intelligence software to keep the headcount from exceeding the prescribed limit amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

Sanjay Gunjyal, inspector-general, Mahakumbh 2021 said, “At any given time not more than 1.09 lakh people will be allowed bath at 107 Haridwar ghats. The systems will alert us in case the number of people exceeds the prescribed limit”.

Devotees visiting the religious congregation will need to register on the website- www.haridwarkumbhmela2021.com along with all their details including date of birth, address and various other details. 

The Mahakumbh is likely to be organised at the expense of Rs 800 crore which is being used to provide facilities to the devotees and saints visiting the mela. 

Earlier this month, the state government wrote to all states requesting to conduct health check-ups of devotees who will participate in the Mahakumbh 2021 and urged not to run any special buses for the religious congregation. 

The CS also told that the state government will soon be releasing the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the Haridwar Maha Kumbh, scheduled to commence on February 27. 

The state government has also requested the railways to not run any special trains for Kumbh so that the number of visitors to the two-month-long event is limited. 

According to the SOP released by the central government, pilgrims must have a Covid-19 RT-PCR negative test report (test done 72 hours prior to the date of visit) and must register themselves with the state government before visiting the religious congregation starting on February 27. 

The SOPs also advocates ‘appropriate Covid-19 behaviour’ like social distancing, wearing of masks, and installing Aarogya Setu App mandatorily.

Listing various Covid appropriate behaviours by the pilgrims including maintaining social distancing of atleast 6-feet the SOP said, “The Government of Uttarakhand shall ensure that the Healthcare workers and the other frontline workers engaged during Kumbh Mela medical and public health operations are vaccinated on priority in the ongoing vaccination of this group. Only vaccinated Healthcare and other frontline workers be deputed for Kumbh Mela duties”.

Suggesting that the Kumbh Mela authorities ‘may consider’ curtailing the total duration of the Kumbh Mela, the SOP listed 15 preventive measures to check the spread of the Covid during the religious congregation.

Saints, business groups and other stakeholders have raised their concerns that such strict norms are bound to discourage pilgrims and devotees to travel Haridwar for Mahakumbh 2021.