Around 7 lakh pilgrims from all over the country will take a holy dip at Ganga Sagar on early Saturday morning in connection with Makar Sankranti.
The state government has made elaborate arrangements to maintain peace and provide safety and security to the devotees. The Alipore Meteorological Office has predicted a fall in mercury level on Saturday. The head priest of Kapil Muni Ashrama in Gangasagar said the holy dip would start at 5.58 am on Saturday and continue till Sunday morning.
Subrata Mukherjee, minister for Panchayat and Rural Development and Public Health Engineering (PHE) departments is overseeing the arrangement. Around 5,000 police officers and 8,000 constables have been deployed. Watch towers have been installed and surveillance from air will be carried out by drone. The South 24 Parganas district administration has intensified vigil on the boats which carry the pilgrims. The state government has put stress on cleanliness and a few hundred waste bins have been installed. Conservancy workers have been deployed to sweep the mela ground. Bio toilets have been put up and more than 100 NGOs have joined hands with the state government to look after the pilgrims. Doctors and paramedical staff have opened health camps.
To cater to the rush of pilgrims for Ganga Sagar Mela, Eastern Railway has arranged 45 services of EMU Special trains in Sealdah - Lakshmikantapur-Namkhana section during the period from January 12 to 16.
Two EMU Special trains from Sealdah to Namkhana, one EMU Special from Kolkata to Namkhana, two trains from Namkhana to Sealdah, one EMU Special from Lakshmikantapur to Sealdah and one EMU Special train from Namkhana to Lakshmikantapur have been arranged to run daily between January 12-16, 2017. Besides, one Kakdwip-Lakshmikantapur local to be extended to Sealdah (South) as galloping EMU Special on 14 & 15 January, one EMU service from Namkhana to Majerhat via Ballygunge to be extended to Sealdah (South) on 15 January, one EMU Special from Kolkata to Namkhana (via- Majerhat-Ballygunge) have been arranged from January 12-14 and all Sunday exempted EMU services in Lakshmikantapur-Namkhana section will run like regular weekday on 15 January. RPF jawans have been deployed at Lakshmikantapur, Kakdwip and Namkhana stations who will work with close coordination with GRP for maintenance of law and order and social harmony. ‘May I Help You Booth’ with telephone and manned by RPF & GRP personnel at Sealdah South, Kakdwip & Namkhana, medical unit at Kakdwip Railway station have been arranged. Volunteers of Civil Defence, Scouts & Guide and St. John Ambulance brigade are kept ready to assist Railway officials at the stations. Two tower wagons are also being kept ready at Baruipur and Lakshmikantapur to rush to the site in cases of emergency.