Taking note of the public interest litigation (PIL) in view of the rise in Covid cases as the Gangasagar Mela has started, the Calcutta high court ordered formation of a new two-member committee to monitor the event.
The Mela is held from January 8-16 and sees lakhs of devotees from all parts of the country. Every year on Makar Sankranti, thousands of pilgrims, seers, and tourists take a dip in Gangasagar, the confluence of Ganga and Bay of Bengal, and offer prayers at the Kapil Muni Temple.
On Monday, a PIL filed by lawyers sought the removal of Suvendu Adhikary from the committee monitoring the event. Adhikary and state human rights commission chairman have now been replaced with retd Justice Samapti Chattopadhyay and a member of state legal services authority.
The court order also stated that if the mela is found to be causing spread of Covid, the committee can make a recommendation to the state to ban entry into the Sagar Islands, on which the government can take immediate action.
Double vaccination and 72-hour prior negative RT-PCR report are a must for all attendees. Orders also stated that Gangasagar be declared a notified area within 24 hours.
The HC has ordered the chief secretary of the government of West Bengal to ensure compliance of directions.