Gangasagar Mela: Here's list of condition imposed by Calcutta HC

By Livemint
Gangasagar Mela: A pilgrim seeks blessings from a naga sadhu at a transit camp. (PTI)

The Calcutta High Court has imposed a couple of conditions for pilgrims who wish to attend the 9-day long Gangasagar Mela which occurs every year in West Bengal during Makar Sankranti. The Calcutta High Court has made it mandatory that only fully vaccinated people will be allowed to visit the Gangasagar Mela. People need to carry the Covid-19 vaccination certification for entry. Besides, those having negative RT-PCR reports with 72 hours will also be permitted to enter the religious event. The High Court said that two-member committee has been constituted to monitor adherence to Covid-19 protocols during the Gangasagar Mela.

Meanwhile, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation is conducting a mandatory rapid antigen test for pilgrims and sadhus attending the Gangasagar Mela.

The move has come after West Bengal reported a surge in coronavirus cases. Bengal on Monday reported 19,286 fresh Covid-19 cases raising the tally to 17,74,332. The state's Covid positivity rate stands at 37.32%. There were 16 more deaths reported in the last 24 hours, pushing the toll to 19,917. So far, 16,65,221 people have recovered from the disease in the state.

The annual Gangasagar Mela started on January 8 and will continue till January 16. The Gangasagar Mela is held annually at the Sagar Island of West Bengal during the Makar Sankranti festival where thousands of pilgrims come to the spot to take a dip in the holy Ganga river.

The Sagar island site is one of the most sacred places in Hinduism and it receives millions of pilgrims each year.

People board trains, buses, trek and finally take boats to reach the sacred island spot to offer prayers, bathe, and visit many old temples in the region.

Last year's deadly second wave of Covid-19 in the country was preceded by the 12-yearly Kumbh Mela festival when millions of pilgrims from all over the country descended on the banks of the Ganges in Uttarakhand's Haridwar. The pilgrimage saw people walking the revered river in the morning without masks and scant regard for social distancing.

The mass gathering was blamed for a significant surge in infections for weeks as people returned to distant towns and villages all over the country.


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