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regular-article-logo Thursday, 29 February 2024

Mamata demands national status for Ganga Sagar Mela

The CM says that Centre has not paid any heed to her repeated requests to build a bridge over the Muri Ganga river to help pilgrims reach Sagar Island easily

PTI Sagar Island Published 04.01.23, 05:37 PM
Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee File picture

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday demanded that the Centre accord national status for the annual Gangasagar Mela which will be held next week here in the state’s South 24 Parganas district.

Stating that the Centre has not paid any heed to her repeated requests to build a bridge over the Muri Ganga river to help pilgrims reach Sagar Island easily, Banerjee said her government is preparing a detailed project report (DPR) to construct it.

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“The central government has been providing huge funds to the Kumbh Mela. But it is not providing anything to Gangasagar Mela. That is the reason that I will request them to declare it as a national fair so that we can get some funds,” she told reporters.

The chief minister said this is not the first time that she is making this request to the Centre.

Banerjee reached Sagar Island on Wednesday afternoon to review the preparations for the upcoming Gangasagar Mela to be held between January 8 and 16. She also inaugurated three helipads.

Gangasagar is "a unique fair" as the only mode to reach Sagar Island, the venue of the Mela, is by crossing waterways, the chief minister said.

"Kumbh Mela is well connected by air, rail and roads. But for Gangasagar, people have to take the waterway, which is very difficult," she said.

"We have told the central government several times to build a bridge, but they have not taken it seriously. So, we decided to construct it on our own. We are preparing a DPR for that," the chief minister said.

The project will take some years to complete and may cost Rs 10,000 crore but "we will not beg (to the Centre)," Banerjee said.

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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