In the light of the large population estimated to visit the cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh for Kumbh Mela
amid the outbreak of COVID-19
pandemic, the Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday (March 31st 2021) directed the state government to increase the daily testing to at least 50,000 persons per day.
The State Government is also directed by the Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma to publish the data on the internet in reference to the number of persons found COVID-19 positive along with the deaths caused by the same. The Bench also emphasized that until and unless a larger section of the population is tested, it would be impossible to detect the spread of coronavirus through a large population.
The court later perused the report submitted by the State Government which revealed the dearth of sanitization and manual dispensers, inadequacy in washrooms and changing rooms, absence of drinking water facilities and CCTV cameras.
At many places the roads leading to the Ghats were in incomplete constructions. There’s also a lack of testing kiosks for carrying out COVID-19 test. Plus, the deplorable condition of the Hospitals and medical services spread through the Kumbh Mela area. In the directions given by the court, it was mentioned that the Hospitals should be upgraded and given the required facilities so as to tackle the re-emergence of COVID-19 pandemic.
Considering the possibilities of a largely populated gathering at the Kumbh Mela, the court directed the State Government to deploy sufficient number of Jal Police so as to protect people from the possibility of drowning, stampede etc. Other requisite directions by the court are:
- Night shelters to be provided with drinking water facilities, mobile washrooms and urinals.
- Those who have taken the first dose of vaccine and are certified to be COVID negative are allowed to enter the Kumbh Mela area.
- Ensuring the adherence of S.O. Ps issued by Central and State Government.
With these directions, the matter was posted for further hearing on Thursday April,15, 2021.