A steady outpour of devotees was witnessed at Mansa Devi temple on Saturday– day one of the Navratra fair– amid the pandemic. The temple had already received over 16,000 devotees by 8 pm on Saturday.
While maintaining social distance, wearing mask and entry by e-tokens were mandated, the precautions flailed as more and more devotees showed up.
Almost everyone who reached the temple had not booked the tokens online and were made to get the token issued through the website at the spot. The approach worked initially, till the inflow of people remained controlled– but as noon approached, people were let in without any e-tokens. Although each person was made to wash their hands at the entry point; eventually, social distancing was thrown to the winds as the queues reached upto the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.
Two test positive at fair
Meanwhile, a kiosk set up by the Health department, that remained functional till afternoon, collected as many as 1,235 rapid antigen samples for Covid-19 test. At least two of these tested positive and the patients were quarantined by the Health department at the spot. “If the people are from distant towns, we are isolating them at our Covid Care Centres. If they are from the district itself, the persons are being given the option to observe home isolation,” said CMO Jasjeet Kaur.
At least 15 police check posts, with ample deputation of police personnels, have been set up across the MDC area, especially on the temple’s premises.
A separate parking area has been provided for vehicles coming to the fair. Police personnel have been deployed at the parking lot to ensure that no inconvenience is caused to the devotees.
Furthermore, the traffic police have been directed to ensure smooth running of traffic for both the incoming VVIPs and the general public to avoid congestion. A solution center– with both male and female police personnel– has also been set up at the fair to address issues faced by the devotees.
To maintain the law and order situation during the festivities, in addition to the Haryana police personnel, women police and home guards have been posted at different places across the city.
On the first day of fair, a vigil to monitor mischievous elements and suspected persons was also conducted here by in-charge of Crime Branch Sector 26.
The temple’s premise has been equipped with door frame metal detectors, crisis management teams, police force reserves, bomb disposal squad, ambulance, fire brigade et al in preparation for any emergency.
Residents voice against commercialization of festival
In a letter sent by city-based Citizens Welfare Association to the Deputy Commisioner of Panchkula, the arrangements made was termed as the ‘commercialisation’ of the festivities.
The letter highlighted two aspects which they said points towards commercialisation. “The packets of prasad being sold to the devotees do not have any relevance since we do not know whether the prasad is selling only after bhog or is just a marketing strategy. The entry is restricted to visit for “Darshan” for all, but VIP lane has token worth Rs 50 each, while exempting the senior citizens. Is it not commercialisation to earn the revenue by such tactics?” the letter read.
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