Prayagraj: The Prayagraj officials are deciding to deploy over 5,000 policemen to the annual ‘Magh Mela’, which is one of the world’s biggest religious congregations that takes place at the ‘Sangam’ in Uttar Pradesh. Notably, only personnel who will be physically fit and are non-alcoholic will be posted at the Sangam.
KP Singh, Inspector General (IG) Prayagraj range said that these policemen will also have good control over English in order to provide a better experience to international tourists.
He said that there will also be several policemen who have been posted in the Magh Mela before so that they can help out the new personnel.
The Magh Mela that begins from January 14 and usually lasts till Mahashivratri in February and March, will also witness policemen being called-in from various other districts.
Singh said that these police personnel should also have faith and reverence towards the Mela so that they can also work as guides and facilitators for the women and elderly devotees.
IG Singh said that over 3,500 personnel will be called in from other districts, whereas, over 1,500 will be posted from Prayagraj. These policemen will also have to undergo special training due to the COVID-19 outbreak. They will be trained to get the geographical location of the Magh Mela and will also learn about the health facilities and traffic information.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the area of the Magh Mela has also been reduced and is being set up in just four sectors. It will have 13 police stations along with 38 police posts and 13 fire stations.
As per reports, there will be several watchtowers and CCTV cameras for the safety and security of the devotees. Besides these, the police will also use drones.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS), Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and Special Task Force (STF) teams will also be deployed to keep a check.
Due to COVID-19, expansion of bathing ghats is also done so that devotees maintain social distancing and other safety norms.
This time, police personnel will also have additional responsibilities like to keep a check if the devotees and tourists are wearing facemasks and if they have a proper COVID-19 test report.
According to an IANS report, the officials will also be conducting antigen and RT-PCR tests of the police personnel arriving from different parts of the state for the Magh Mela duties.
The officials of the health department have also reportedly asked devotees wanting to perform ‘kalpwas’ (month-long stay at the township) at the Sangam to bring along a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test report with them in order to get an entry to the Magh Mela.
The devotees will also have to undergo a coronavirus test every week during their month-long stay and other visitors will also be tested.