More than 31 lakh devotees take the holy dip at Gangasagar
Sagar Island: To make the visit of the pilgrims hassle-free at Gangasagar Mela 2020, which is considered to be the second largest congregation of mankind after the Kumbh Mela, the Bengal government has left no stone unturned.
On Tuesday, nearly 31 lakh devotees coming from different corners of the country and abroad including France, Russia, Australia, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh took the holy dip at the confluence of river Ganga and Bay of Bengal.
"No accident or casualty has been reported so far. The 'shahi snan' is between 1.25 am on January 15 to 12.24 am on January 16," said state Panchayats and Rural Development minister Subrata Mukherjee during a press conference at Sagar Island.
State Sports and Youth Affairs minister Aroop Biswas, state minister for Fire and Emergency Services Sujit Bose and other ministers were also present during the press conference.
Biswas, along with South 24-Parganas District Magistrate Dr P Ulaganathan, also conducted an aerial survey to take stock of the arrangements of the Gangasagar Mela. The pilgrims visiting Kapil Muni temple are being regulated through barricades and drop gates. Special puja offerings will be performed during the punya kala (the intervening night of January 15 and 16). Live visuals of the puja will be shown in more than 100 LED TV screens set up at various spots from Outram Ghat to Gangasagar.
The puja offered during punya kala will be aired live through e-darshan which can be seen in YouTube, Facebook Live and other websites. About 10 lakh people have already viewed Gangasagar Mela through the e-darshan platform.
Meanwhile, speaking on the issue of a jetty breakdown, Mukherjee said: "Jetty number 3 of Kachuberia broke down today (Tuesday) during barge landing. It was repaired within an hour by the irrigation engineers. Pilgrims' movement is smooth now."
Around 5,000 police including lady constables, 1,200 civil defence volunteers and 5,000 NGO volunteers have been deployed along the beach for assisting pilgrims during the holy dip.
Continuous beach patrolling is been done by NDRF, Indian Coast Guard, Navy and civil defence. Around 20 drones and 600 CCTVs have been deployed along the beach area.
Beach safety units, 50 more cloakrooms, more than 100 changing rooms and a large number of mobile toilets have also been set up.
Around 143 people have been detained so far. 107 buses and small vehicles have also been detained and fined for over speeding.
"The arrangement for the Gangasagar Mela is very good. We got clean drinking water and the police arrangement is also excellent," Bhagwat Singh Bundela, a pilgrim from Uttar Pradesh said.
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