Magh Mela-2022: Only fully vaccinated pilgrims to be allowed to attend, camp at fair

Magh Mela-2022: Only fully vaccinated pilgrims to be allowed to attend, camp at fair
© Provided by Hindustan Times Workers busy levelling the ground for the tent city of Magh Mela-2022 on the banks of Sangam in Prayagraj (HT Photo)

Only fully vaccinated pilgrims will be allowed inside the tent city area of Magh Mela-2022, officials of the Prayagraj Mela Authority have informed.

The annual religious fair begins on January 14/15 (Makar Sankranti) and will conclude on March 1 (Mahashivratri).

Following strict instructions of UP CM, preparations have begun in earnest for the next edition of the fair. Besides the Covid-19 protocol like social distancing and mandatory wearing of face masks, the CM’s orders would be enforced stringently, they added.

Although the number of coronavirus-positive cases have substantially come down in the district as well as in the state, the CM is not willing to take any chances and therefore, has issued clear instructions in this regard, said a senior official aware of the development.

“In the meeting, the CM made it very clear that only those devotees, who have taken both doses of the coronavirus vaccines will be allowed to enter the Magh Mela area. Besides, we have been told to follow all the protocols that were followed last year and not to take things lightly, and restrict the mela area,” said Sant Kumar Srivastava, SDM, Prayagraj Mela Pradhikaran.

“In case a devotee has taken just the first dose of the vaccine, the second dose will be administered in the mela area itself,” said the official. Besides, random reserve transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and antigen tests will also be conducted in all sectors of the Magh Mela, he added.

Every kalpwasi or seer wishing to camp in the tent city for the month-long period of the fair will have to present proof of being fully vaccinated. Moreover, the Kalpwasis would be requested to minimise the number of visitors in their camps too. No one without a face mask would be allowed in the mela area, officials said.

In the November 25 meeting with the CM, the Prayagraj administration led by the district magistrate, Prayagraj, Sanjay Kumar Khatri, made a detailed presentation regarding organising Magh Mela-2022. According to officials, the district administration had prepared a proposal requiring funds around 67 crore for the fair but the state government has sanctioned around 59 crore only for it.

Reminding officials in the meeting that the threat of the pandemic was not yet over, the CM had also ordered that Covid-19 vaccination and testing centres be set up for the fair as a top priority.

In Magh Mela 2021, the state government had made a three-day old RT-PCR report mandatory for every Kalpwasi and seer which was an effective deterrent in checking spread of the pandemic.

In 2022, Kalpwas would commence on January 17 (Paush Purnima) and conclude on February 16 (Maghi Purnima). This will minimise the number of days of stay at the Magh Mela area. This year, Paush Purnima was on January 28 and Maghi Purnima on February 27, thus the stay had stretched far over one month.

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