DEHRADUN: No RT-PCR Covid-19 test report will be necessary for pilgrims coming for the Mahakumbh officially commencing from April 1 to April 30 in Haridwar, Uttarakhand CM Tirath Singh Rawat has said.
"We understand the sentiments of the devotees and will make sure that pilgrims face no hassle when they come to Mahakumbh 2021," said the newly sworn in CM.
"The Mahakumbh is going to be Divya and Bhavya (Divine and Grand). Devotees can come and take a dip in Holy Ganges but must ensure they follow safety protocols of the central government," said the CM while speaking to media on Sunday.
Earlier, the state government under Trivendra Singh Rawat had issued SOPs making the RT-PCR test report mandatory for attending the religious congregation.
This is a total reversal of the state government's earlier stance under Trivendra Singh Rawat which through various means including the strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) discouraged the pilgrims from attendind the Mahakumbh.
Rahul Shekhawat, Dehradun based political analyst said, "The new CMs first instruction was to shower flowers on devotees in Shahi Snan of Mahashivratri. This set the agenda. Now the Mahakumbh will be organized in a manner which is approved by devotees, seers and traders alike."
The SOPs which were earlier issued by the Uttarakhand government’s disaster management department did not go down well with Akhadas, seers, local priests and the trader fraternity.
Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad, apex body of Akhadas in the country said the restrictions in the SOPs stop people from visiting the Mahakumbh 2021
The conditions in the SOP include mandatory registration at government portals, negative Covid-19 report (not more than 72 hours old), e-pass allocation for pilgrims, among others. Stern legal action against violators will be initiated under the Disaster Management Act and Covid-19 regulations, as per the SOPs.
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.
Senior officials even went ahead to write to various state governments not to run any special trains or buses for Mahakumbh 2021.