The court instructed the Bengal government to ensure strict adherence to COVID-19 norms, as the nine-day-long event is expected to draw pilgrims in lakhs.
After the state government said that it cannot ban the nine-day-long Gangasagar Mela scheduled from January 8 to January 16, which is expected to draw pilgrims in lakhs, the Calcutta high court has given its go-ahead for the event, however, calling for “strict adherence” to COVID-19 norms.
Towards the enforcement of norms, the court ordered the government to set up a committee, which will oversee arrangements and take measures depending upon the emerging situation.
It also asked the government to take a decision within 24 hours to declare Sagar Island, where the annual fair is held, as a “notified area”. The declaration as “notified area” will empower the authorities to take measures for safeguarding the health, safety and welfare of the pilgrims as required.
The constitution of the committee comes after the West Bengal Doctors’ Forum expressed its apprehension that measures suggested by it in an affidavit would remain merely as “paper suggestions” and would not be implemented in practice.
The court also directed that the authorities concerned to implement the measures as per an earlier order of the high court on holding of the 2021 Gangasagar Mela.