HC gives its nod to hold Ganga Sagar Mela 2021
Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday gave the state the nod to go ahead with the Ganga Sagar Mela at Sagar Island but laid emphasis on 'e-snan' (e-bathing) to avoid crowding for the holy dip in view of the Covid-19 pandemic situation. The holy dip is scheduled on Thursday — the auspicious day of Makarsankranti.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice T B N Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee asked the state government to provide 'e-snan' kit—a small container with the holy water of Gangasagar—to pilgrims at the fair site in Sagar Island for free and for a nominal fee (as transportation cost) to people who want to avail the same from other places. The state administration has already made arrangements for e-snan facilities.
The state government informed the court that the number of pilgrims who have arrived at the Sagar Islands is much less in comparison to other years and assured the division bench that
adequate measures have been taken to maintain COVID-19 health protocols in the best possible manner.
State Director of Health Services Ajay Chakraborty in his report stated before the high court that the risk of Covid-19 transmission is extremely low even after bathing at Sagar as the water is saline and flowing as the dip takes place at the confluence of the river and sea. Moreover, arrangements have been made so that pilgrims take a dip in a staggered manner maintaining distancing norms.
On January 4, a PIL was filed at Calcutta High Court seeking guidelines amidst Covid situation with lakhs of pilgrims slated to bath at Sagar. The court had directed the state government to submit a report on the arrangements. The division bench satisfied with the same allowed the state to go ahead with the annual fair.