New Year darshan only for vaccinated devotees at Baidyanath dham, Basukinath temple
Entry to unvaccinated people to famed Baba Baidyanath dham and Basukinath temple will not allow unvaccinated people to visit the abodes of Lord Shiva in Deoghar and adjoining Dumka on New Year's Day to try prevent the traditional rush of devotees on account of the Covid-19 pandemic that is staring at a new phase of uncertainty on account of the new fast-spreading omicron variant.
While the state government hasn’t yet announced any fresh curbs or new regulations, district administrations are taking a host of steps to prevent a resurgence of the virus.
Deoghar deputy commissioner Manjunath Bhajantri said, “We have decided to allow entry to only devotees who are fully vaccinated. This apart, other safety precautions like mandatory use of masks, proper cleaning and sanitation of the temple and its adjoining premises will continue to be in force.”
On Friday, he along with SP Dhananjay Kumar Singh inspected the temple premises to monitor administrative preparedness for overall maintenance of law and order. The two officers also inspected the routes leading to the temple and directed local authorities to clear roadside encroachments to prevent overcrowding.
“Officials have been asked to install makeshift toilets as well make proper drinking water facilities at multiple points on temple routes for maintaining overall hygiene and sanitation in the city,” he said.
At least 50,000 people visit Deoghar temple every year from different parts of the state as well as from neighbouring Bihar to offer prayers to Lord Shiva on January 1.
Similar measures have been sounded by Dumka district administration for the Basukinath temple, another prominent religious hotspots. A temple official said, “A meeting was held with the authorities of Basukinath temple on Thursday after which we decided that only fully vaccinated persons will be allowed darshan on January 1. Along with temple volunteers, the administration will also deploy magistrates and security personnel for crowd control.”
Jharkhand has so far not reported any case of Omicron infection. But there is a steady increase in the number of new Covid-19 cases for the last few days. The active case count in the state is now at 236, as per Thursday night’s bulletin, which is almost double of what it was last month.
Over the last two days alone, the state witnessed 95 cases of fresh infection after 44 new cases came to the fore on Thursday.