Kumbh & Covid
The recent propositions of the Union Ministry of Health to the Uttarakhand government for Kumbh coupled with the SOPs released by it for the mega event, revered and considered highly auspicious by the Hindus clearly means that the Kumbh in Haridwar would be a symbolic affair this time. The CM Trivendra Singh Rawat was quite clear when he said that Haridwar would not be allowed to become another Wuhan. The Health Ministry has asked the state government to set up an upper daily limit of the pilgrims which can be allowed to take part in the event and has also suggested that the event can be curtailed so that the chances of another spike of the dreaded pandemic are minimised. The SOPs of the union government for the Kumbh clearly mention that those interested to attend the holy event should carry a negative RT-PCR test report and should be pre registered with the authorities. Though Kumbh is associated with the religious sentiments and any attempt to limit its dimensions would invite the ire of many. It is equally true that the event in its full glory is synonymous with jostling crowds and observing social distancing norms to combat Covid-19 during the event where more than a million devotees take a holy dip in search of elusive Amrit on any single day would be an impossible task for the authorities.
The cabinet minister of the Himalayan state heading the gigantic education portfolio is a worried man these days. In an attempt to get into the good books of the party high command, the Netaji took a delegation of farmers to New Delhi in support of the three farm laws which are fast turning out to be an Achilles Heel for the indomitable NaMo. The move proved counterproductive with farmer organisations of the state becoming hostile towards the minister who takes pride in his rustic image. These organisations are especially active against him in his home constituency and nearby areas. If this was not enough for the beleaguered minister, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in order to project its much hyped Delhi model of education in Uttarakhand has unleashed a campaign to put the education department of the state in poor light. The problem for Netaji is that things are going wrong at a time when the assembly elections in the state are not far away. The fact that the education ministers in the state have faced electoral reversals in the past must also be weighing heavy on his mind.
By conferring Padma Shri on to two prominent personalities of Uttarakhand belonging to different fields such as medicine and agriculture, the government of India has recognised years of the selfless service made by them for the society. While Dr BKS Sanjay is a renowned orthopedic and spine surgeon with a record of holding free health camps for the poor and many feats which find mention in both Guinness and Limca Book of records, humble PC Sharma is a progressive horticulturist who inspired many to adopt his ways of farming. Uttarakhand has a long way to go in providing good healthcare facilities especially in remote and mountainous areas and horticulture holds the key for prosperity for farmers of the state. These two awards would give a much needed boost to these sectors in the state.
Friday, 29 January 2021 | Gajendra Singh Negi | Dehradun