8 March 2021 1:06 PM GMT
The Uttarakhand High Court last week directed the state administration to maintain strict vigilance during the Kumbh Mela and even prior thereto, so as to reduce the possibility of Haridwar emerging as a hot bed for the spread of Corona Virus infection. The Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma was hearing a batch of PILs...
The Uttarakhand High Court last week directed the state administration to maintain strict vigilance during the Kumbh Mela and even prior thereto, so as to reduce the possibility of Haridwar emerging as a hot bed for the spread of Corona Virus infection.
The Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma was hearing a batch of PILs concerning Covid-management during upcoming Kumbh Mela celebrations.
During the course of the last hearing (dated 22nd February), the Court had directed the Chief Secretary of the State and Mela Adhikari to submit reports indicating measures taken up by the administration and the facilities to be provided to the Tourists/pilgrims during their stay at Haridwar and Rishikesh.
Pursuant to the Court's direction, a report was submitted before the Court on 05th March by the Mela Adhikari, Deepak Rawat stating: -
On the other hand, the counsel for the petitioner questioned the position being taken by Mr. Deepak Rawat (Mela Adhikari) by stating that the large numbers of photographs attached in his report clearly reveal the unfinished work still left.
Significantly, it was pointed out that prior to the commencement of Maha Kumbh Mela, on 11th March 2021, "Mahashivratri" would be celebrated and that about 50 lakh people will reach Haridwar to take the holy dip in the holy Ganges.
But the SOPs issued both by the Central Government and State Government are applicable from 01st April 2021, and so it was requested before the Court that the said SOP should be made applicable on 11th March 2021 also.
The Court observed that though the affidavit filed by Mela Adhikari, is encouraging, but it needs to be supplemented with photographs which would clearly bring out the large construction work and the arrangements being carried out by the respondent-State.
Further, noting that a great possibility does exist that a large number of people would gather in Haridwar to perform their religious rites, the Court directed the State Government to make ample preparation and to implement the SOPs issued by the Central and the State Government even on 11th March 2021.
Also, noting that here is again a great possibility that the pilgrims may want to avail themselves both the days (12th and 14th April) for taking their holy dip in the Ganges, the Court remarked,
"This Court hopes that this great possibility would be kept in mind by the State Government while making the arrangements for the pilgrims, who would gather in Haridwar and Rishikesh for the Maha Kumbh Mela."
Further, the Court directed the Mela Adhikari to accompany counsel for the petitioner and the Member Secretary DLSA in order to carry out an inspection of the civil construction work and the arrangements being made in an around Kumbh Mela Area and in Haridwar.
Both, the Counsel and the Member Secretary DLSA have been directed to file their reports (indicating the status of the Preparations) before the Court by 23rd March 2021.
Lastly, the Mela Adhikari was also directed to submit a report accompanied with photographs of all the major construction works, repairs, and renovation being carried out on or before 23.03.2021.
The matter has now been listed for further hearing on 24th April 2021.
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