New Delhi: The 47-day annual religious fair ‘Magh Mela-2022’ has kicked off with thousands of pilgrims taking holy dip on the banks of the Sangam in Prayagraj on Friday to mark the occasion of Makar Sankranti amid surge in corona cases.
Visitors have throng banks of Sangam, which is sacred confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati.
Breach of Covid protocols
Just hours before the fair began, thousands of people reached sangam (confluenece) to take a dip, but none of them seemed to follow the Covid protocol barring a few. On the other hand, Dr Rishi Sahai, nodal officer of the health department at the Magh Mela, claimed that concrete arrangements have been made and efforts will be made to control the spread of virus at the fair.
The fear of Corona is evident as the number of devotees coming to the fair this year is lesser compared to last few years. So far, 70 people have been detected positive even before the fair has begun and the toll is expected to rise further. The state government has also imposed various restrictions in the city to contain the virus. Starting from Makar Sankranti the fair will continue till Mahashivratri on March 1.
Exhibitions and swings are being set up at the fair
Even as the faith has taken over the fear with pilgrims attending the annual fair, exhibitions and displays are also being set up. The High Court has refused to hear the plea on against Magh Mela on an emergency basis.
More than two dozen swings and exhibitions are also being organised at the fair for which a tender of Rs 1.75 crore was issued. January 17 is the beginning of Poush Purnima, and the annual fair is expected to attract a lakh of devotees.
HC refuses to hear the stay plea on the Magh Mela on an emergency basis.
Earlier on Thursday, the Allahabad High Court refused to hear a PIL seeking a stay on the Magh Mela on an urgent basis. The High Court said the petition does not have adequate grounds for urgency. The matter will be heard as a regular case. It is now due for hearing on Monday.
Environmentalist Utkarsh Mishra had filed a PIL seeking a stay on the fair in view of the Covid situation or to limit the number of devotees. An appeal was made by filing a separate application on Thursday seeking an urgent basis hearing in the case but the High Court has refused for a hearing on an urgency basis.