Maha Kumbh begins in Haridwar, ushers in Makar Sakranti

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Haridwar (Uttarakhand), Jan 14 (ANI): Devotees have gathered in large numbers for the Maha Kumbh Mela that began in Haridwar on Thursday morning on the auspicious occasion of 'Makar Sakranti'.

Despite severe cold and fog, over 25 lakh people are expected to gather at Har-ki-Pouri for a holy dip.

Officials claimed that around eight lakh people have already reached Haridwar.

The Deputy Fair Officer of the Maha Kumbh Mela, Harvinder Singh said the people of different religions are here to witness the Maha Kumbh.

Security has been tightened for the event. The State Government has asked the Centre and neighbouring states to send additional forces to monitor security arrangements in the city.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has said all steps would be taken to ensure incident-free fair.

"The successful conduct of the Mahakumbh fair has been the utmost priority of my government, for which heavy security has been put in place," Nishank said.

"All arrangements have been made. Security forces have been deployed at 130 sq km area to ensure that no untoward incident occurs," said Anand Vardhan, Kumbh Mela incharge.

Vardhan further said that tight security arrangements have been made at all entry points, and around 39 CCTV cameras have been installed to keep a close vigil.

Around 800 CRPF personnel, 200 RAF personnel and 400 CISF men have been deployed on the first day of the Kumbh Mela, said Alok Sharma, a senior police official.

There are further plans to deploy BSF and ITBP personnel, Sharma added.

The security has also been stepped up along the Delhi-Haridwar national highway and 17 new police outposts have been set up, said Muzaffarnagar Superintendent ofolice Rajiv Malhotra.

Dehradun, Pauri, Tehri and Haridwar regions of Uttarakhand have been notified as Mahakumbh Nagar. (ANI)

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