The Yogi Adityanath government has decided that no recreational events or economic activities will be allowed at the annual Magh Mela at the beginning of 2021 in view of the prevailing coronavirus pandemic situation.
The Magh Mela will be held at the Sangam and banks of the Ganga river from January 14 (Makar Sankranti) to March 11 (Maha Shivratri).
District Magistrate Bhanu Chandra Goswami said that the market, popularly called Meena Bazaar, will not be set up at the Mela township.
Recreational facilities like swings or sale of toys and eatables will not be permitted.
Besides, no religious discourses by saints or cultural activities usually organised by the government or private agencies within the Mela area will be held this time.
The decision is bound to affect pilgrims who will now have to bring their own food with them. Normally, devotees eat at ‘langar’ (community feasts) held by various religious groups in their respective camps.
It is now doubtful whether even ‘langars’ will be allowed or not.
The Mela administration has also issued an appeal that the elderly and people suffering from chronic, serious ailments, should not opt for ‘Kalpvas’ and should avoid visiting the Magh Mela. The DM said that the district administration will also prepare a database of ‘Kalpvasis’ (those who camp for one month) with comorbidities.
The allotment of land at the Mela ground will be done in a manner that the devotees put up at a distance from each other and physical distancing norm is not compromised.
The officer said that in case someone tests coronavirus positive at the camp, its occupants will be quarantined for 15 days and their ‘Kalpvas’ discontinued midway.
People visiting the Mela area will have to show corona negative reports that are not more than three days old.
The administration has requested the heads of various religious groups to ensure that all seers coming to their camps undergo corona tests and allow them to stay only after they submit corona negative reports.
They will also have to maintain a record of every visitor to their camp by noting down their Aadhaar Card numbers.