All schools and colleges in Ghaziabad and Meerut districts will remain closed from July 26 to 30 due to Kanwar Yatra, officials said on Thursday. Issuing the order, District Magistrate of Ghaziabad, Ajay Shankar Pandey said 'Shravan Shivratri' will be observed on July 30.
"Devotees and Kanwars in excessive numbers are expected to turn out for the festival like previous years. Hence, all primary, secondary schools, including those affiliated to CBSE and ICSE board, degree colleges, engineering, management and medical colleges will remain closed from July 26 to 30," Pandey said in the written order.
The district police and administration officials have been instructed to ensure compliance of the order. Similarly, the Regional Higher Education Officer of Meerut, Rajiv Kumar Gupta said that all schools and colleges in the district will remain shut till July 30.
In compliance of the orders issued by District Magistrate, Meerut, all aided and unaided schools and colleges will remain closed from July 26 to July 29. As July 30 is a holiday owing to Maha Shivratri, the institutions will reopen on July 31, Gupta said.
Kanwar Yatra is an annual pilgrimage of Lord Shiva's devotees known as Kanwars, who visit Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand and Sultanganj in Bihar to fetch holy waters of the River Ganga during the auspicious Hindu month of Shravan.
Security has been beefed up in districts of western Uttar Pradesh like Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr and Meerut for the annual pilgrimage.
To ensure smooth conduct of the yatra, more than 200 CCTV cameras and 90 surveillance drones have been deployed along the pilgrimage route besides putting in place other security measures.
Pandey along with Senior Superintendent of Police Sudhir Kumar Singh inaugurated an integrated control room on the Delhi-Meerut road trisection where more than 100 office bearers of the civil defence and traffic police constables will remain present to facilitate the kanwariyas.
Starting Thursday, all establishments in the district selling meat have been asked to remain shut till the yatra culminates on July July. Singh told that 1500 police personnel have been deployed to maintain law and order while the Ghaziabad district has been divided into eight zones and 18 sectors in which deputy superintendent of police, sub divisional magistrates and sector magistrates will keep the extra vigil.
In addition, 33 watch towers have been erected while bomb squads, special weapons and tactics (SWAT) teams and quick response teams have been pressed into service by Ghaziabad Police.