The PIL sought restrictions and regulations during the Gangasagar Mela this year. On the last date of hearing, the Court had asked the State to seriously consider the plea to ban the Mela this year. It cited its earlier order highlighting that life is more important than religious practices, beliefs and faith.
However, today, the State said that it was not in favour of banning the Gangasagar Mela at present, with the arrangements in place. It further pointed out that about 30,000 people had already visited the Mela ground and nearly 50,000 people including sadhus had arrived at different locations. Advocate General S N Mookherjee had submitted that in order to prevent the spread of the virus due to the gathering in Gangasagar, various measures had been planned and were mentioned in the affidavit dated January 6, 2022.
The Court was informed by the State that owing to the COVID-19 situation, the influx of devotees had reduced to about 4-5 lakh pilgrims, who were expected to arrive between January 6 and 15, 2022. The State also submitted the measures that would be taken during the event, including mandatory use of face masks, maintaining physical distancing and use of sanitizers. Other measures like provision of COVID hospitals, quarantine centres, dead body disposal facility, sample testing of the pilgrims, checking of vaccination status etc were also in place, the Court was told.