HC seeks to know Bengal govt's plan on preventing COVID-19 at Gangasagar Mela

PTI | Kolkata | Updated: 07-01-2021 21:10 IST | Created: 07-01-2021 21:09 IST
HC seeks to know Bengal govt's plan on preventing COVID-19 at Gangasagar Mela
File Photo Image Credit: ANI

Observing that life is moreimportant in every sense in comparison to religious practicesand beliefs, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed theWest Bengal government to submit a report detailing measuresto prevent the spread of COVID-19, if the Gangasagar Mela ispermitted to be held this year.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee recentlysaid that the annual fair held on Makar Sankranti attracted 50lakh pilgrims in 2020. The auspicious day will be celebratedon January 14 this year.

Hearing a PIL seeking that the Gangasagar Mela site atSagar Island be declared a containment zone in view of thepandemic, a division bench said that it will be up to thestate government to come out with clear suggestions in thereport as to how the fair can be regulated, controlled or ifnecessary, even dropped for the current year.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice T B NRadhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee directed the stategovernment to place the report before it at 2 pm on Fridaywhen the matter will be taken up for hearing again.

The bench said that the report should be submitted inthe form of an affidavit ''through a medical officer at thehighest level in the state government service, clearlydelineating the modalities of the preventive management of thesituation if Ganga Sagar Mela is permitted to be held thisyear.'' The court said that the grim situation shouldnecessarily prompt the West Bengal government to make rigorousprovisions keeping in mind the duties of the state, inconsonance with the right to life guaranteed under Article 21of the Constitution.

The division bench directed that the measuresindicated should take care of congestion on the bank, in thewater body, on roads, in eateries, toilets and otherfacilities.

The imposition of restrictions and enforcement ofsocial distancing norms as well as the use of masks and duesanitisation in terms of COVID-19 management protocols shouldbe spelt out by the state government in the report, it said.

Urging pilgrims to go to Gangasagar Mela in smallernumbers this year in view of the pandemic, the chief ministerhad on Monday announced that arrangements have been made for'e-snan', whereby holy water and 'prasad' will be sent toanyone who orders for these from any part of the country.

She had also said that provisions have also been madefor 'e-darshan' of Gangasagar Mela for those who want to paytheir obeisance from their homes.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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