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Covid-negative certificate must for devotees: Centre issues SOPs for Kumbh Mela

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New Delhi, Jan 23: The Centre on Sunday issued guidelines (SOP) for the Kumbh Mela in Uttarakhand's Haridwar amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

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"All devotees attending the 'mela' should register with Uttarakhand Govt and obtain a compulsory Covid-19-negative medical certificate from Community Health Centre/ District hospital/ Medical college in their State," the guidelines stated.

Devotees to be allowed at Kumbh Mela only after producing COVID negative RT-PCR report, issued not later than 72 hours. They will have to download Aarogya Setu app. People over 65 years of age, the ailing, pregnant women, children below 10 years of age advised not to come.

The National Security Guard (NSG) Commandos will also be deployed at the mela. Uttarakhand Police Commissioner Ashok Kumar said, "to take action against the anti-national elements, two NSG teams will be deployed during Kumbh Mela. The NSG teams will also train our Anti-Terrorist Squad," after meeting with Major General VS Ranade, NSG (IG Operations).

The Uttarakhand government on Friday authorised the Garhwal Commissioner and the Kumbh Mela official to allocate works up to worth Rs 5 crore and Rs 2 crore respectively to speed up preparations for the forthcoming Kumbh Mela in Haridwar.

The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat here on Friday evening, Cabinet minister Madan Kaushik told reporters.

The mela official has also been authorised to increase the amount to be spent over sanctioned works by 50 per cent if necessary and split works of lengthy nature into two parts, he said.

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