Kumbh Gears up to Witness 10 Lakh Devotees Daily from Feb 27; Smart Cameras to Keep an Eye on Crowds

Industry Watch | February 8, 2021 | News

Kumbh Mela Punneet Sobti

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Uttarakhand is all set to witness Kumbh Mela, one of the largest religious congregations in India, from February 27, 2021. It was earlier slated to begin on January 14. It is not yet clear whether the massive landslide and devastation in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district will affect the Kumbh Mela.

The Centre has already issued standard operating protocols (SOPs) for the Kumbh Mela, which stipulates that devotees attending the fair must register with the Uttarakhand Government and bring a negative RT-PCR test report (not older than 72 hours) for the coronavirus; only then will they be allowed to enter the fair.

The 48-day event is likely to witness up to 10 lakh people, while 50 lakh people are expected to turn up during the festival special bathing days. The Kumbh Mela administration has installed cameras with head-count software, to keep an eye on the crowd. The cameras will immediately alert the police if the crowd increases beyond the acceptable limit.

The Government of Uttarakhand will also have to ensure that only those health workers and front-line workers who have got the COVID-19 vaccine are posted at the Kumbh Mela. The authorities have also demanded that adequate doses of the vaccine should be made available at the fair grounds to immunise the personnel posted there.

Speaking about the impact of COVID on Kumbh Mela 2021, Punneet Sobti, Kumbh Mela and MICE Specialist said, “The Government of Uttarakhand has issued guidelines on Kumbh Mela, this time COVID-19 will have an impact on Kumbh; but looking at the permanent infrastructure work being done in Haridwar, it seems that this time Kumbh will end up benefiting the Tourism industry. Road connectivity in Haridwar is excellent at this time. There are no jams in the city. All things are organised and I can say that the Haridwar administration is ready for Kumbh.”

“We fully support the decision to ask devotees to bring the COVID negative report (RT-PCR test) to keep the dignity and sanctity of Mahaparva Mahakumbh intact in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. If devotees are healthy, only then healthy operation of this Mahaparva is possible. A little carelessness can hamper the success of Kumbh. COVID-19 is also nearing its end; the vaccine has arrived in India, so most devotees are keen to attend. It will not have any negative impact on business, nor will the number of visiting devotees be affected. If we take this precaution, then COVID will be unlikely to spread. Kumbh is a Mahaparva, so it is the responsibility of all of us to be responsible citizens and maintain its purity,” Sobti added.

Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand Government has also authorised the Garhwal Commissioner and the Kumbh Mela officials to allocate works worth up to Rs 5 crore and Rs 2 crore respectively to speed up preparations for the mela.

The entire Kumbh area is spread across 150 square kilometres, covering four districts of Uttarakhand. For extensive precautions, the media centre, police line, traffic line, radio line, cultural tents, homeguard line, entertainment park, helipad and Ayush and Wellness centres would be made within the Kumbh area.

Apart from bathing at the ghats by online appointment, pilgrims can also experience satsangs, prayers, spiritual lectures, langar meals and chants of the saints during their walk to the ghat.

Dabur, Bata plan to be active at Kumbh
According to media reports, brands are going slow with their campaigns at Kumbh Mela this year. However, some like Dabur and Bata are planning to be active at the fair. Devotees can expect to see Dabur Red Paste Dant Snan Zone, unique identity tags from Dabur Amla Hair Oil to help lost children and senior citizens to reunite with their families, besides Dabur Amla face masks. Bata India will set up stores on wheels around the area to make sure that visitors can buy comfortable footwear.

Kumbh Mela set to commence from Feb 27; devotees must carry negative RT-PCR test report (not older than 72 hours) to attend; cameras with head-count software to keep an eye on crowd.

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