50 lakh pilgrims take holy dip at Gangasagar Mela
Sagar Island: The stellar arrangements made by the Mamata Banerjee-led Bengal government to make the Gangasagar Mela 2020 hassle-free for the devotees visiting the fair has earned appreciation from the pilgrims coming from across the nation and abroad.
The apt crowd management at the fair by the state administration on the occasion of Makar Sankranti on Wednesday has received acknowledgement too. "Starting from the traffic arrangements to cleanliness, all was perfect. At different spots, police officials and volunteers were guiding us," said Agam Kumar, a pilgrim who came to the mela from Jamshedpur.
Like every year, millions of pilgrims jostled for space at the annual Gangasagar fair since early in the morning despite a biting cold. About 150 km from Kolkata in South 24-Parganas district, the Gangasagar Island is considered auspicious and millions of devotees gather on Makar Sankranti to take a holy dip and to offer coconuts at the Kapil Muni temple.
From 12 am to 8 am on Wednesday, around 18 lakh devotees coming from different corners of the country and abroad took the holy dip at the
confluence of river Ganga and Bay of Bengal. The number climbed to 50 lakh later in the day. The 'shahi snan' is between 1.25 am on January 15 to 12.24 am on January 16.
It might be mentioned that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also been monitoring the fair and has been advising the officials from time to time. She also visited the mela venue in the first week of January to take stock of the arrangements. Security has been beefed up in the island, and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is monitoring the situation, officials said.
The Chief Minister, while reviewing the preparations for the mela, had also enquired about the drinking water supply and accommodation facilities for the pilgrims. "This is for the first time that I was served clean drinking water. I want to give 100 out 100 for cleanliness and arrangements at Gangasagar Mela to the state government," said Bhagwat Singh Bundela, a pilgrim from Uttar Pradesh. Besides deploying senior officers, around 10,000 police personnel including lady constables and around 1,200 civic defence volunteers have been posted for the gathering at the Gangasagar Mela for assisting the pilgrims. Security officials are also keeping a watch on the waters and patrolling is being done, officials said.
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