Beautification of Haridwar and its ghats is also in progress for Maha Kumbh 2021. (File Photio)
Haridwar’s Maha Kumbh Mela that attracts millions of pilgrims will be back in less than two months and unlike every time the 2021 event will call for enormous logistics challenges as the fear of the uncontrollable spread of novel coronavirus lurks behind. Officials have ruled out any chance of calling off the event that will be held in its 11th year this time after it was last held in 2010 and attended by 1.63 crore devotees according to Indian Space Research Organisation records. The event will be held through January 14 till the end of April.
Kumbh Mela Adhikari Deepak Rawat talking to IE confirmed the same and mentioned the management is taking extra effort in planning the event according to guidelines issued by the government. Rawat informed that social distancing will be kept in mind while managing the crowd and surveillance via a network of CCTV camera is in place. To cater to the demands of a pandemic year, a social 100-bed hospital has been arranged for exigencies related to Covid-19 apart from a separate 50-bed facility for other health issues and emergencies. The Uttarakhand government will also cater to the need of an adequate number of masks.
The Kumbh Mela also pose threat to the environment with pollution level rising alarmingly in the river Ganga in its three-month-long affair. The responsibility to keep Ganga clean this year falls on National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) under the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti, who has been working on managing riven pollution on several religious events around the year.
Haridwar now has built new Sewage Treatment Plants to take care of the waste discarded in the river. The latest one was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Jagjitpur last month. The city now has the capacity of treating 145 MLD sewage in its five new STPs and two old one recently repaired and functional.
NMCG Director General Rajiv Ranjan Mishra Informed that the civic authorities have linked 20 nallas in Haridwar to the STPs so that the waste generated by the floating population of pilgrims and tourists is handled with care and in future can cater to the sewage treatment demands for at least 15 years now. Mishra claimed to have spent Rs 85 crore for building up toilets, dustbins, employment of sanitary workers, volunteers and other infrastructure developments at the Mela by the State government.
Beautification of Haridwar and its ghats is also in progress. After Indian Oil Corporation revamped Har Ki Pauri ghat, a new 1 km long Chandighat was built to take the pressure off from the former during Kumbh Mela. Public art projects are underway in which street artists from Australia, Switzerland, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal are painting murals associated with Hindu mythology around the ghats and pilgrim spots in and around Haridwar.