Pandemic norms go for a toss at Golden Temple complex - ECAS Punjab

Pandemic norms go for a toss at Golden Temple complex

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GS Paul
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, September 29

With devotees' footfall increasing, the SGPC finds itself in a Catch-22 situation to implement the Covid-19 protocols. At Golden Temple, staff members and devotees can be seen without masks and not maintaining social distancing.

With top chairs of senior vice-president and chief secretary vacant as a fallout of the misappropriation of "saroops", getting Covid protocols implemented inside the shrine complex is a challenge.

A senior official said making the masks "mandatory" had been under consideration for long, but the "devotion" factor put the SGPC on a back foot.

"It was observed that people approach 'Guru da Ghar' with a faith. They believe that they could never be harmed while on the premises. But, it is the SGPC management's responsibility to persuade them "politely" to follow the Covid-19 protocols inside the shrine complex," he said.

Initially, dedicated health teams were deputed at all entrance points of the shrine. Sanitising dispensers and tunnels were put in place at different spots. Also, the devotees were being sent in batches inside the sanctum sanctorum, maintaining at least one-metre distance.

Now, pilgrims and SGPC sewadars could be seen without safety masks and gloves. Even volunteers in the Langar Hall move around unmindful of safety measures. Making the situation worst is the ongoing protest opposite the SGPC headquarters where many people could be seen without masks and close to each other.

Golden Temple manager Mukhtiar Singh said health teams were withdrawn 'just' two days ago for unknown reasons. However, Akal Takht acting Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh has repeatedly been asking devotees to adhere to health guidelines.

from The Tribune

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