Cal HC asks Bengal govt to file report on Gangasagar Mela preparations on Jan 13PTI | Kolkata | Updated: 08-01-2021 21:27 IST | Created: 08-01-2021 21:27 IST
The Calcutta High Court on Fridaydirected the West Bengal government to file on January 13 areport on the arrangements made for organising the GangasagarMela, based on which it will decide whether or not to allowthe annual fair this year in the view of the pandemicsituation.
As per the calendar, the timings of the holy dip thisyear will be for 24 hours from 6.02 am on January 14.
Directing that the matter will be heard again onJanuary 13, a division bench presided by Chief Justice T B NRadhakrishnan ordered that the state government through thechief secretary will file the report in the form of anaffidavit regarding all arrangements made till then.
''This will enable the court to assess the situation ason that date and decide whether or not the Gangasagar Melashould be permitted to be held this year keeping in mind thepandemic situation and the paramount interest of public healthat large,'' the bench, also comprising Justice Arijit Banerjee,directed.
In a report placed before the court on Friday, thestate government's Director of Health Services delineated thearrangements for the fair.
The division bench observed that the pilgrims shouldopt for e-snan (e-bathing) and e-darshan arrangements beingmade by the state government to avoid crowding for holy dipsat the confluence of River Ganga and the Bay of Bengal, andalso at the Kapil Muni Temple and the fairground in view ofthe COVID-19 situation.
The state has also set up 13 rapid antigen testingcentres, five RT-PCR testing facilities, eight safe homes with615 beds, 11 quarantine centres with 645 beds, five SevereAcute Respiratory Infection (SARI) isolation centres with 116beds, seven COVID hospitals with 600 beds and six wellnesscentres having 203 beds.
More than 2,500 health officials and health workerswill be deployed for handling the situation, the report said,adding that 100 ambulances, three water and two air ambulancesand green corridor arrangements for emergency evacuation havebeen made for a speedy response.
The DHS in his affidavit said that it will be ensuredthat all pilgrims and other people at the fairground andadjoining areas mandatorily wear face masks, maintain physicaldistancing and use sanitiser.
Sufficient amount and quantity of face masks and handsanitiser will be made available for distribution among thosewithout them, the report said.
Around 9,000 police personnel including three ADGs,IG, four DIGs, six SPs, 15 additional SPs, 90 DSPs, 116inspectors, 822 subordinate officers, nearly 2,700 constables,3,000 civic volunteers and 2,500 temporary home guards arebeing deployed in and around Gangasagar, it said.
The bench said that while it is primarily satisfiedwith the administrative arrangement and the policingarrangements for crowd management and for the dissemination ofinformation as to the protective steps to be taken by thevisiting pilgrims in the wake of the COVID pandemic, it hasapprehension about the modality in which the measures statedin the report of the DHS could be effectively achieved.
In view of such apprehensions, the bench directed thestate's chief secretary to file a further report on January 13regarding the arrangements made till then.
The bench directed that the protective andprecautionary measures referred to in the report should alsobe implemented at all places in and around Kolkata andanywhere else in West Bengal where people are congregating enroute to Gangasagar.
Directing that whatever has been stated in the reportshould be scrupulously adhered to, the division bench said,''We record the statements made in such report as anundertaking given to the court by the state government.
Needless to say, such an undertaking would bind all wings ofthe state government including the police.'' PTI AMRACD ACD
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