On Makar Sankranti, 33L pilgrims take holy-dip in Ganga Sagar
Over 30 lakh pilgrims from across the country and neighboring Bangladesh and Nepal took holy dip at the confluence of the River Ganga and the Bay of Bengal at Ganga Sagar Mela in Sagar Islands on Makar Sankranti today, the West Bengal government said. Panchayat and Rural Development Minister, Subrata Mukherjee, said the pilgrims also offered prayers at the Kapil Muni Temple.
Pilgrims increased by 10L this year compared to last year's
Mukherjee, who has been assigned the task of monitoring the arrangement for the pilgrims along with Power Minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay and PWD Minister Aroop Biswas, told reporters that the gathering was over 30L, compared to last year's 20L. Every year, on Makar Sankranti, lakhs of Hindu pilgrims flock Ganga Sagar to take a dip and offer prayers in the Kapil Muni Temple.
CM Mamata Banerjee has been monitoring fair, advising officials
"Last year, over 20 lakh pilgrims had visited the Ganga Sagar. This year, it has crossed 30 lakh mark despite Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj. It was absolutely peaceful and the pilgrims have also appreciated our arrangement," Mukherjee said. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also been monitoring the fair, and has been advising the concerned officials from time to time.
Four people died of cardiac arrests, 50 arrested so far
Meanwhile, four persons have so far died of cardiac arrests, while police have arrested 50 persons for petty crime. A tight security cover surrounds in and around the mela premises. The state government deployed a huge contingent of security personnel and volunteers, besides pressing into service 20 drones. It also equipped its officials with satellite phones to ensure uninterrupted connectivity during the mela.
800 CCTV cameras, disaster management systems put in place
Over 800 CCTV and 200 balloon cameras have been installed to aid security of the grand fair. The West Bengal disaster management department has made arrangements to receive a live feed from the mela for effective monitoring of the proceedings.
Indian Coast Guard increases surveillance along WB coastline
Several giant LED screens have been placed at different points through which pilgrims are being updated on the timings of trains, buses, and ferries. Tide timings as well as safety tips are also being announced in Bengali, Hindi and English. The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has enhanced its surveillance along the coastline of West Bengal for the Ganga Sagar Mela, an official said.