January 16, 2014
Effective management of Gangasagar Mela: WB Govt sets an example for mass congregations
Around 12 lakh pilgrims and devotees yesterday took the holy dip at Gangasagar at the most auspicious time of Sun`s transition to Makar Rashi (Capricorn). West Bengal Government made adequate arrangements for the pilgrims during their stay here. PHE and Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee along with state Power Minister Manish Gupta were overseeing the arrangements.
More than 500 buses were deployed by different state transport wings to carry pilgrims from Howrah Station and Outram Ghat / Babu Ghat in Kolkata to Lot 8 (95 km) and Namkhana (109 km); the buses have been making round trips throughout the day from 10th January.
For the pilgrims there were temporary sheds at Sagar Mela ground where they could take rest. Arrangement of temporary toilets and cooking was made without compromising on the cleanliness of the mela ground. There was adequate arrangement for electricity. To avoid accidents, the district administration advised pilgrims against lighting any open fire at the mela ground. The pilgrim got atta, rice and other food materials at fair price at the mela ground.
For the first time, air ambulance service was introduced at the fair. This came handy when a 7-year old girl had to be shifted to Kolkata for an immediate operation after she met with an accident.
In addition to the existing health infrastructure at Ganga Sagar Island, temporary hospitals were operating round the clock at the Sagar Mela Ground, Kachuberia, Chemaguri, Narayanpur (Namkhana) & Lot 8 Point. Four First Aid Camps/Centres were established providing adequate number of public health personnel in Chemaguri crossing, Natun Rastar More, Kulpi More & Namkhana Railway Station. Even awareness programmes in the form of banners, leaflets and other mediums were conducted for the pilgrims.
Four barges and other vessels were pressed into service to carry nearly one lakh devotees to Kakdwip; the process will continue all through the night.
The Navy, Coast Guard, BSF and district police were patrolling the seas, river channels and fair grounds to ensure smooth passage of the annual event.