Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat decided to relax COVID-19 related restrictions to boost devotees' turnout at Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. On Saturday, he said that pilgrims would not need to bring the RTPCR COVID-19 test report.
Rawat stated in his first interview as Uttarakhand's CM that devotees "will not be expected to bring a Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) COVID-19 test report while attending the Kumbh Mela, commencing from April 1 to April 30," The Times of India reported.
He added that due to restrictions earlier, there was an atmosphere of apprehension in Haridwar that had disturbed the akharas.
The state government, led by CM Trivendra Singh Rawat, had released Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) requiring devotees to produce a negative RT-PCR test report.
The minister mentioned that he discussed the matter with officers. "In the meeting, I asked the secretary to respect akharas, shower flowers on them by helicopters, but also let the public come, he said. ''Akharas are taking out processions, and there is no audience because you stopped the people from attending. The public should come, don't stop them,'' Rawat was quoted as saying.
The officers cited Central rules and court directives when the chief minister issued the order. In response, Rawat told the officers that he would be accountable to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and BJP national president JP Nadda.
The CM further added that there should be no impediments as Kumbh happens after 12 years. It is practically impossible to conduct the RT-PCR test or check the negative reports as lakhs of devotees would attend the Kumbh Mela.
He said that the only solution was to adhere to the central guidelines to wear masks and use sanitisers.