Monday 17 January 2022
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Makar Sankranti holy dip in Haridwar banned

As Covid-19 spreads rapidly, driven by the fast-spreading Omicron mutant of the China-origin coronavirus, the Uttarakhand government has banned the holy dip in the Ganga in Haridwar on Makar Sankranti on 14 January. The state has imposed restrictions on entry to the Har ki Pauri area, which sees a throng of devotees every day, as well.

Haridwar District Magistrate Vinay Shankar Pandey also announced a night from 10 pm to 6 AM on 14 January.

Makar Sankranti is an auspicious day in the Hindu calendar that marks the end of winter and the beginning of the spring as well as the harvest season. The festival is celebrated also as Uttarayan, as the sun begins its journey north.

The hill state is to for a new on 14 February and the surge in daily infections is a worry.

While announcing the poll schedule on 8 January, the Election Commission banned rallies, roadshows and corner meetings in all the five-poll bound states to check the spread of coronavirus. Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa and Manipur are the other states that will elect a new assembly.

Uttarakhand will also not allow dharnas, demonstrations or public events like cultural gatherings till 16 January.

On 10 January, the state government ordered the closure of schools. Teaching continues online.

Covid-19 cases have been inching up in the state popular that sees a lot of tourists as well as pilgrims. Visitors who are not fully vaccinated have to carry a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 72 h, the government said last week.

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