The state government has decided to set up 5,000 more sanitary toilets with an aim to keep the forthcoming Ganga Sagar mela “clean and green”.
More than 12 lakh people from different parts of the country visit the fair every year to a take a holy dip in the confluence of river Ganga in Sagar Island. This year, the turnout is expected to be more as there is no such mela in other parts of the country. Around 15 lakh people are expected to visit Ganga Sagar in January 2017.
It had always been the target of Mamata Banerjee’s government to keep the Sagar Island clean and green. Before she came to power, hardly any step was taken to keep the mela premises clean.
Subrata Mukherjee, the state Public Health Engineering minister, visited the venue on Sagar Island on Monday and held meeting with Sundarbans Development minister Manturam Pakhira. Senior officials of the district including the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police were also present in the meeting.
In a bid to ensure uninterrupted power supply, the state Power minister Sobhandeb Chatterjee also went to the spot on Tuesday. Ganga Sagar mela this time will be held on January 13, 14 and 15, but the people will start pouring into Sagar Island from January 8 onward.
Mukherjee said: “It had been the effort every year, to keep the mela clean. But this time we will not leave any stone unturned to ensure that Ganga Sagar Mela turns out to be the cleanest of all.”
He said that there will be a total 15,000 sanitary toilets with proper markings. There will be bright coloured flags fitted on the top of the toilets so that volunteers can make people understand its location and people can also reach the place by tracking the flag.
It may be mentioned that 10,000 toilets were set up in the mela held in January 2016. With the increase in 5,000 toilets, the task of keeping the mela clean will be much easier.
Around 6,000 civil volunteers, all local youths, will be deployed in the mela only to keep the area clean. Their task will be to restrict people from open defecation and to direct them to the toilets. The volunteers will also be keeping watch whether any pilgrim is dumping leftovers in any place they like. They would
direct the people to use the dustbins. One small dustbin will be placed at every three alternate makeshift tents so that people do not need to go far to dump the unused materials.
In case anyone dumps it outside the dustbin, then the volunteers will pick it up and throw it in the right place. This time, there will be people to collect waste products from the shops in the mela to dump it in a particular place.
Sufficient quantity of safe drinking water will be supplied to pilgrims on the mela days.
Besides taking steps to keep the mela premises clean, steps have been taken to increase the number of vessels by around 20 to ensure that people do not face trouble in reaching the island by crossing Muri Ganga river.
There will be a total 90 vessels to ferry the pilgrims. At the same time, the state Irrigation department is carrying out the dredging work at five different locations on Muri Ganga to ensure easy movement of the vessels.