Bengal CM cautions pilgrims against crowding in Sagar
Times of India | 13 January 2022
KOLKATA: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had a word of caution for Gangasagar pilgrims and requested devotees not to visit in huge numbers in view of the Omicron threat. The CM also requested pilgrims to abide by the high court order that mandated RT-PCR tests for those heading for the holy dip.
"We need to abide by the HC order. People should not go to Gangasagar without undergoing RT-PCR tests," the CM said at Outram Ghat in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Banerjee held that the Omicron variant had hit people in the state hard, touching almost all families. "Never in the past two years did so many people contract the virus. The Omicron variant is a super-spreader, affecting almost all families," she said.
The CM urged the group leaders of pilgrims coming from other states to take care of the team members and inform the administration immediately if someone fell sick. "All of you should take care of your health and well-being. Do not hurry on your way to Gangasagar. If you are safe, then you can come again next time. Take help of the police if any of your companions fall sick. I request you to give priority to your health, which is of utmost importance at the moment."
The CM, while explaining how difficult it was to screen virus carriers, said, "Many among those coming from outside may be carrying the virus. But how many can we test when millions are going to Gangasagar? We need to do RT-PCR tests, but can we do it for 20 lakh or 25 lakh people?"
Banerjee pleaded with the pilgrims to follow Covid-safety norms without waiting for authorities to enforce them. The CM stated that the Bharat Sevashram Sangha, which provides volunteers for the Mela every year, had backed out this time because most of the volunteers and their families were down with Covid. "Do not make much merriment there. Our officers and employees deputed there are also at risk," the CM said.
Banerjee said the government has handled the pandemic well for the last two years and hoped it would tide over the Omicron challenge following the path of Swami Vivekananda. "All of you wear a double mask, use sanitizer and don't spit here and there - as it spreads the virus."
The CM said everyone has to be extra cautious to remain safe. "If someone is coughing on the bus, take him to the police for RT-PCR test, for your own safety. Take some extra masks on the bus to Gangasagar. If one is not following norms, then he will risk the lives of others."