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regular-article-logo Saturday, 30 September 2023

Bengal govt expects huge pilgrim turnout in Ganga Sagar Mela

The Covid scare is not as intense as it was earlier. We have taken all measures keeping this in mind, says South 24 Parganas District Magistrate

PTI Sagar Island Published 03.01.23, 09:56 PM
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In the absence of Kumbh Mela this year, the West Bengal government expects a huge footfall at the annual Gangasagar Mela next week and has taken all measures for a successful hosting of the congregation, a senior official said on Tuesday.

Lakhs of Hindu pilgrims gather in Sagar Island from different parts of the country and outside to take a holy dip at the confluence of the sacred Ganga and the Bay of Bengal on the occasion of 'Makar Sankranti'.

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Officers in the rank of deputy superintendent of police will be deployed to oversee the security of the fair site, who will use satellite phones, drones and CCTV cameras, South 24 Parganas District Magistrate Sumit Gupta said.

"As there is no Kumbh Mela this year, we are expecting a huge gathering at the Gangasagar mela. Besides, the Covid scare is not as intense as it was earlier. We have taken all measures keeping this in mind,” Gupta told PTI.

While 15.5 lakh pilgrims visited Ganga Sagar Mela last year, the figure could reach as high as 60-70 lakh Between January 8 and 16 when the fair would be held this year, he said.

To maintain law and order and to combat any attempt to disrupt peace, the administration has decided to deploy at least 5,000 police personnel and 2,000 civil defence personnel, besides DSPs and inspectors.

As a part of the precautionary measure, 22 drones will be used to monitor the area, he said adding that all vessels going to the mela will be screened and their movements will be kept under the lens.

"We will be using the Pilgrim Transport Management System (PTMS) to get an idea of the number of people coming to the Mela. The information will then be sent to the control room," he said.

As a part of the PTMS, buses, ambulances, vessels and launches will be fitted with GPS trackers.

Around 230 buses, 80 ambulances, 70 vessels and 80 launches will be fitted with GPS trackers, the official said.

There will also be one air ambulance and four water ambulances.

The district administration has decided to install CCTVs for 24X7 monitoring of the Mela proceedings.

On the measures taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19, another official said that the administration has not decided on compulsory screening of the pilgrims visiting Gangasagar.

"Since there are hardly any Covid-19 cases these days, there is no such compulsory screening for the pilgrims. We are keeping masks and decided to carry out regular sanitisation processes all around," the official said.

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