HC seeks state's stand on hosting Ganga Sagar Mela this year
KOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday sought state government's stand regarding holding the Ganga Sagar Mela this year. The court asked whether the state government was mulling over banning the Mela or holding it in a regulated manner. The next hearing in the case is on January 6.
A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Kesang Doma Bhutia, during the hearing of public interest litigation by Dr. Avinandan Mondal seeking ban on Ganga Sagar Mela amid the fresh surge in Covid-19 cases, said: "We expect that the State will take a decision keeping in view the larger public interest and having due regard to the health and safety of not only the persons visiting the Mela but also the general public who may be infected due to the large scale travel during the Mela."
Advocate General SN Mookherjee sought time till January 5 to inform the court by way of an affidavit about the arrangements made to regulate the Ganga Sagar Mela in order to curb the spread of infection. He submitted that last year when the Mela was allowed to take place in a regulated manner, vaccination of people had not even started, which is not the case anymore. He also submitted that the severity of infection and transferability is far less severe when it comes to the Omicron strain of the virus.
Advocate Srijib Chakraborty, appearing for the petitioner, contended before the bench that over the last few days, the State had seen a prolific rise in the number of cases. He submitted that on January 4, 2022, the state witnessed 9,073 Covid-19 cases and the infection rate was as high as 18.96 per cent.
Between January 3 and January 4, 2022, the number of Covid-19 cases increased from 6,078 to 9,073 which is almost a 50 per cent increase in the number of cases. This apart, about 50 per cent of the police force of the state would be deployed at the Mela.
However, there is only one hospital in the Mela area and doctors have also been getting affected there.