Authorities gear up, as Gangasagar fair likely to see 500,000 pilgrims

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Gangasagar (West Bengal) Jan 9(ANI): Ahead of the State's largest Gangasagar fair, scheduled to be held on January 14 and 15 on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, local administration is having a hectic time preparing to ensure no there is no scope for untoward incident.

Authorities here are expecting that over 500, 000 devotees turning up at the Sagar island for a holy dip.

The island is on the confluence of the river Ganges and the Bay of Bengal.

The local administration is taking precautions on security front as well. As for the security of the pilgrims, West Bengal police, Civil Defence, Coast Guard and Indian Navy will be involved to prevent any untoward incident during the congregation.

According to Prasanta Biswas, Sub-Divisional Officer of Kakdwip, in 24 parganas district, 12 watchtowers would be built on the Island for security personnel.

"Our West Bengal police are providing so many arrangements.12 watch towers has been arranged to keep a watch on the pilgrims and common people for their security. Police, civil defence, Indian Coast Guard and Indian Navy will also watch the matter regarding security. We are expecting security measure is very good," said Prasanta Biswas.

However, seers emphasise there is a need for better hygienic arrangements in view of the huge number of devotees' arrival.

"The fair committee needs to be a bit careful. They should keep dustbins and make arrangements for temporary toilets in order to maintain hygiene and sanitation. There should be proper arrangements of water. If all the arrangements are properly done then the environment will not get infected," said Mahanta Amar Giri, a seer.

A dip in the ocean, where the Ganga drains into the sea is considered to be of great religious merit particularly on the Makara Sankranti day, when the Sun makes the northward journey and enters a new zodiac Capricorn from Sagittarius, which coincides with the beginning of longer days of sunlight and heralding the beginning of spring.

Pilgrim, after the holy dip and ritual obligations, head towards the Kapilmuni Temple situated nearby, to worship the deity as a mark of respect. By Ajitha Menon(ANI)

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