Difficult to ensure social distancing at ghats: Kumbh Mela official

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By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 12, 2021 11:55:16 am

 Kumbh Mela officialDevotees gather at Haridwar’s Har Ki Pauri Ghat on Sunday to offer prayers during the Kumbh Mela. (PTI)

A stampede-like situation may arise if police try to enforce social distancing at ghats during the ongoing Kumbh Mela, Inspector General Sanjay Gunjyal said.

“We are continuously appealing to people to follow COVID appropriate behaviour. But due to the huge crowd, it is practically not possible to issue challans today. It is very difficult to ensure social distancing at ghats,” he told news agency ANI. “A stampede-like situation may arise if we would try to enforce social distancing at ghats so we are unable to enforce social distancing here.”

On Monday, hundreds of devotees took a dip in river Ganga at Har Ki Pauri in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar on the occasion of the second ‘shahi snan’ in Kumbh.

Gunjyal said, “General public will be allowed here till 7 am. After that, this area will be reserved for akharas”.

Uttarakhand reported 1,333 fresh Covid cases on Sunday, taking the total number of the cases in the state to 1,08,812.

Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand Police is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to zoom in on those not wearing masks.

Officials said over 350 CCTV cameras have been installed at different locations in the mela area, with about 100 of these equipped with sensors that generate an alert when the camera captures the image of a person without a mask. Being deployed for the first time at the Kumbh mela in Haridwar, the AI-equipped cameras also generate an alert when sites identified as vulnerable for stampede — Har-ki-Pauri, Subhash ghat, Brahmakund, Malviya Dweep — see a higher crowd density. The cameras are also being used to keep a count of vehicles at parking lots and to spot objects lying unattended for more than 10 minutes.

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