The union government issued guidelines of a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the coming Kumbh mela in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, on Sunday (24 January) so that all stakeholders take adequate safeguarding measures so as not to contract Covid-19.
The SOP says that all devotees attending the religious carnival must register with the Government of Uttarakhand. Additionally, they have to obtain a compulsory medical certificate from the community health centre, district hospital or medical college in their state they come from.
Healthcare and other frontline workers will be vaccinated on priority in the nationwide drive and that only those workers who have been vaccinated will be deployed on duties at the event, says the SOP.
The Uttarakhand government will have to convey to all states that only those carrying negative RT-PCR test reports with a test date 72 hours prior to the date of visit will be allowed to enter the Kumbh Mela site.
The Uttarakhand government must follow the regimen of registration of devotees as the one for Amarnath Yatra. Vulnerable populations — those above 65 years of age, pregnant women, children below 10 years of age, those with underlying comorbid conditions — are being discouraged to attend the Kumbh Mela.
National Security Guard (NSG) commandos will be deployed at this mela, a religious carnival. After a meeting with Major General VS Ranade, NSG (IG Operations), Uttarakhand Police Commissioner Ashok Kumar said, “Two NSG teams will be deployed during Kumbh Mela to secure the place and people against anti-national elements. The NSG teams will also train the Anti-Terrorist Squad.”
Earlier, the Uttarakhand government — at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Friday, 22 January — had authorised the Garhwal commissioner to spend up to Rs 5 crore for the necessary works. It permitted the Kumbh Mela official an expenditure up to Rs 2 crore for preparations for the mela, Cabinet minister Madan Kaushik said.
Uttarakhand Government has requested the union government for 20,000 additional vaccines in the wake of Kumbh Mela. The state Covid-19 control room chief Dr Abhishek Tripathi said that the state government had sent a proposal to New Delhi.
An estimated 10 lakh people will attend the mela on a regular day and about 50 lakh people are expected to attend on special days including Magh Purnima on 27 February, Mahashivratri on 11 March, Somvati Amavasya on 12 April, Baisakhi on 14 April, Ram Navmi on 21 April and Chaitra Purnima on 27 April.