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When all roads led to rivers

The East Singhbhum district administration was on its toes as a multitude of devotees took part in Ramnavami immersion processions, which began from various akharas and wended their way through the city to reach river ghats on Wednesday.

Every thoroughfare in Sakchi, Bistupur, Kadma, Sonari, Jugsalai, Baridih, Mango and Telco wore a festive look since morning.

Milling crowds waited at Sakchi square and Mango bridge to catch a glimpse of the rallies taken out by 159 licensed akharas that culminated at seven major ghats — Subernarekha in Sakchi, Kapali and Domuhani in Sonari, Sati in Kadma, Bhuiyandih in Sitaramdera-Sidhgora, Bodhanwala in Bistupur and Baroda in Bagbera.

“For the first time in nearly six decades, the festival was celebrated in a grand manner. The central watch tower was, however, not installed to prevent its misuse by political parties,” said Dhalbhum SDO Prem Ranjan.

Central peace committee member Ram Babu Singh said Ramnavami ended without untoward incidents. “The Subernarekha ghat in Sakchi saw the maximum of 68 immersions; Bhuiyandih followed with 36,” he said.

As the sun beat down on diehard devotees, voluntary organisations lined up cool sips like sherbets and juices. The district administration joined hands with the JNAC, MNAC and Jugsalai Municipality to supply tankers so that there was no shortage of drinking water. Gur-chana kiosks dotted the procession routes too to ensure the faithful didn’t go hungry.

The huge turnout in mind, police issued prohibitory orders for vehicles. Commercial vehicles, auto-rickshaws, buses and cars were not allowed to ply on arteries after 1.30pm. No-entry was clamped on heavy vehicles from 1pm till the immersions were over. Interstate buses had to leave Sitaramdera terminus before 1pm.

The security bandobast was strict too. Four companies of RAF, eight companies of RAP, six companies of IRB, 1,109 armed jawans, 804 lathi-wielding jawans and 308 constables were deployed, besides 82 magistrates as monitors.

“Armed and baton-wielding forces were strategically placed in sensitive pockets. The Ramnavami processions were peaceful,” confirmed SSP Amol V. Homkar.