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Mahakumbh: Niranjani Akhada says close Kumbh, apex body yet to decide


DEHRADUN: With Mahakumbh termed as a 'Super Spreader' of Covid-19, Shri Panchayati Niranjani Akhada, one of the 13 prime akhadas, on Thursday announced the conclusion of the mega event on April 17. 

However, the final decision will be taken by the apex body of the 13 akhadas -- Akhada Parishad. 

Ravindra Puri Maharaj, secretary of the Niranjani Akhada said, "Given the Covid pandemic situation in Haridwar and many seers testing positive, we have decided to end of the Kumbh Mela. With the Shahi Snan of April 27, a few seers will complete the ritual. 

"However, the final decision to end the Mahakumbh is to be taken by Akhada Parishad and we have requested the same."

The mega event, which has already been curbed to one month from four months, raised eyebrows worldwide given the spike in Covid cases in India. As many as 2,269 cases were detected in the mela area in five days (from April 10 to 15). 

With a positivity rate of around 2%, 102 cases were detected on April 15, 525 cases were detected on April 14, 594 on April 13, 408 on April 12, 386 on April 11, and 254 on April 10 in the mela area of ongoing Mahakumbh.

Arjun Sengar, medical in-charge of the meal area said, "We are conducting Covid tests at 100 points which include antigen and RT-PCR tests. More than 1 lakh tests have been conducted in the mela area between April 10 and April 15."

Over 50 lakh pilgrims are said to attend the mega religious event.

Total 18 seers/saints from different religious akhadas have also tested positive to date. One Swami Kapil Devdas, Mahamandaleshwar of Nirvani Akahada died of Covid in a private hospital on April 13. 

Officials from the state health department said the majority of seers/saints are not in favor of getting tested making it a difficult task.

The hill state saw 2,220 Covid cases on Thursday. Out of these, the maximum cases were detected in Dehradun district (914) followed by Haridwar (613) and Nainital (156). Nine persons died of Covid in the state on the day.