| Annual ritual
The annual 17-day Pitripaksha Mela is set to create history this year.
Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi has assured of according a state-level status to the Pitripaksha Mela from this year. If Manjhi inaugurates the fair, he would go down in the records as the first chief minister to do so. The chief minister has also ordered the authorities concerned to create a website of the event.
At a review meeting held on Monday chaired by Manjhi, Gaya district magistrate (DM) Sanjay Kumar Agarwal informed journalists about the preparations being carried out for the 17-day event. The Pitripaksha Mela would start on September 8 this year.
At the meeting on Monday, the chief minister indicated that he would attend the inaugural ceremony of the mela. The event attracts pilgrims from across the country and abroad, who pray at the Vishnupad temple and offer pinddaan for salvation of ancestors’ souls on the banks of the Falgu.
Manjhi also assured of taking a decision soon to accord state mela status to the event, a long pending demand of the residents. The demand was also raised by members of the Gayapal Panda Samaj and social activist Brijnandan Pathak during the meeting. Sources said the issue would be discussed at the meeting of the state cabinet.
The DM said different committees have been set up for accommodation, sanitation, water supply, power, transportation, health, law and order and others to ensure proper amenities for tourists and devotees. Accommodation arrangement for around 44,000 pilgrims has been made in hotels, guesthouses, homes of Gayapal Brahmins, schools and college buildings.
Gayapal Brahmins are traditionally known to accord sufal to devotees who perform the pinddaan rituals.
Gaya senior superintendent of police Nishant Kumar Tiwary has proposed to open a permanent police outpost in the Vishnupad area. He also requested to fill vacant posts of 144 sub-inspectors, 86 assistant sub-inspectors and 45 civil jamadars in the district to ensure better policing.
Manjhi has directed authorities to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the fair area and deploy adequate police force with magistrates to ensure security for pilgrims. He also ordered the officials to create a website of the fair and ensure worldwide publicity. “There is no dearth of funds and there should not be any loopholes in the preparations,” he said.