Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat said on Sunday said that following COVID-19 precautions is necessary during the ongoing Haridwar Kumbh but no one should be deprived of taking a holy dip in the Ganga during it.
The Uttarakhand Chief Minister also said that a negative COVID-19 test report is not necessary to participate in the upcoming 'shahi snans' (holy bath) during the Kumbh Mela.
"I had asked not to stop people from coming here but they must follow COVID guideline. Devotees were afraid that they will not be allowed to enter if their COVID report will not be negative on which I confirmed, the report is not needed," Rawat was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
"Around 32-33 lakh devotees people participated in first 'shahi snan' and they left for their home peacefully. However, the upcoming three 'snans' will be challenging. We have increased bus services four times to help people reach Kumbh Mela easily from the border," he added.
As per an official communique, the chief minister said it is necessary to follow all anti-Covid guidelines during the Kumbh but the people participating in it do not have to be inconvenienced, PTI reported.
"We do not have to deprive people of taking a holy dip in the Ganga," said Rawat, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "unique working style" which, he said, enabled the government to take care of people's need even during the Covid lockdown. It is the PM's "unique working style" which gave rise to the "Modi hai to mumkin hai" (everything is feasible with Modi being around) slogan, the chief minister said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat on Monday said that the Uttarakhand government has decided to withdraw cases registered in connection with COVID-19 rules violation during lockdown against over 4,500 individuals, who were distributing food or helping people.
"We had decided to withdraw cases registered in connection with COVID19 rules violation during lockdown against over 4,500 individuals, who were distributing food or helping people. I have ordered to withdraw these cases in a day or two," Rawat told ANI.
The Kumbh will be held from April 1 to April 30 in Haridwar. The Uttarakhand government has decided to limit the Kumbh this year to 30 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Maha Kumbh is celebrated in a cycle of 12 years at four river-bank pilgrimage sites across India.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI)