Keeping the terrorist attack at Pathankot in mind, the state government took necessary steps to ensure safety and security of lakhs of pilgrims who will be visiting Sagar island to take a holy dip in the Gangasagar on Makar Sankranti.
A high level meeting headed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held in this regard at Nabanna on Monday. Ministers and senior officials of all the concerned departments, Mayor of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, chief secretary and home secretary were present at the meeting. Representatives from Bharat Sevashram Sangha and various NGOs also attended the meeting.
There will be surveillance cameras to cover the entire mela premises. CCTV cameras will also be installed at the transit points including Lot-8 and Kachuberia. Additional policemen will be deployed to avoid any untoward incident during the fair.
There will be police camps at different places starting from Kolkata. A large number of pilgrims first gather in the Babu Ghat area and then they start moving towards the fair in buses. Thus initiative has been taken to ensure their safety starting from Babu Ghat onward. The step has been taken so that pilgrims can easily approach a policeman as soon as required or to give any information.
There will be sufficient policemen at each of the camps and they will be well equipped to tackle any situation if needed.
Subrata Mukherjee, the state PHE minister, said steps have been taken for proper illumination in the area in Sagar island through which the pilgrims will move ahead to the venue of the Ganga Sagar Mela.
“Several initiatives were taken for the convenience of the pilgrims after the new government came to power. Steps have been taken for proper security of pilgrims in the mela and at all the transit points including Namkhana,” he said.
He said incidents of pilgrims getting drowned has reduced drastically and initiative has been taken so that not a single such case takes place during the fair.
It is learnt that the Chief Minister has instructed different ministers to be present at different spots for better monitoring. She asked Youth Affairs Minister Aroop Biswas, PHE Minister Subrata Mukherjee, Power Minister Manish Gupta to monitor the situation at Kachuberia, while Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim, Sunderbans Development Minister Monturam Pakhira and Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee to be present at Lot-8 transit point.
All the pilgrims attending Gangasagar mela will be brought under Life Insurance coverage worth Rs 5 lakhs, state PHE Minister Subrata Mukherjee said on Monday.
The ministers for health and fire and emergency services Chandrima Bhattacharya and Javed Ahmed Khan attended the meeting. The state chief and Home Secretary Basudeb Bandopadhyay and Malay Dey were also present.
It was decided that from Kolkata to the mela ground at Sagar island, health camps would be set up and beds would be reserved for the pilgrims enroute. The pilgrims will have to register their names before entering the mela ground. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expects more pilgrims this year, Mukherjee said.
Elaborate steps have been taken to brightly illuminate the entire area. In addition to the existing trident lamps, new lamps will be installed covering an area of 7km.
More policemen, civic volunteers, people working in NGOs will be stationed at Lot 8 and Kachuberia to assist the pilgrims.