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Document one crore pilgrims at Ganga Sagar Mela: West Bengal Authorities

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1000’s collect on the seashore of Sagar Island for a holy dip on the confluence of River Ganga and Sea on the event of Makar Sankranti.
| Photograph Credit score: Debasish Bhaduri

The West Bengal Authorities on January 15 claimed that pilgrims visiting the Ganga Sagar Mela this yr have surpassed all of the earlier information with about one crore pilgrims visiting the Sagar Island until 3 p.m. on January 15.

“That is the highest-ever gathering for any mela within the nation. By 3 p.m. on January 15 about one crore pilgrims had visited the island,” stated Arup Biswas, Minister of State for Energy, Sports activities and Youth Affairs and Housing within the West Bengal authorities.  

The Minister stated that the final yr in 2023, the variety of pilgrims visiting the island was about 80 lakh and due to improved preparations the figures have touched one crore this yr.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 11, 2024, had stated that “nearly one crore pilgrims had visited the Ganga Sagar Mela and this yr it’s prone to surpass the quantity”.

Lakhs of individuals go to Sagar island to take a dip on the confluence of river Ganga with the Bay of Bengal on the event of Makar Sankranti.

Additionally Learn | With massive crowds at misplaced and located camps Gangasagar Mela attracts to an in depth

The claims of 1 crore pilgrims arriving on Sagar Island with a inhabitants of about 2.13 lakh in seven days from January 8 to January 15 shouldn’t have many takers not solely among the many political events within the Opposition but in addition amongst political observers.

Pilgrims offer prayer on the beach of Sagar Island at the confluence of River Ganga and Sea on the occasion of Makar Sankranti.

Pilgrims provide prayer on the seashore of Sagar Island on the confluence of River Ganga and Sea on the event of Makar Sankranti.
| Photograph Credit score:
Debasish Bhaduri

Sagar Island positioned within the southernmost a part of West Bengal, about 120 km from Kolkata has an space of about 280 sq km. The State Bharatiya Janata Celebration (BJP) management had described the figures as “statistical jugglery”.

Professor of Political Science at Rabindra Bharati College Biswanath Chakraborty stated that the Trinamool Congress Authorities’s claims of 1 crore pilgrims attending the Ganga Sagar Mela is a part of its politics the place the occasion is championing the reason for Hinduism and dubbing the BJP as ‘pseudo-Hindu”.

Additionally Learn | West Bengal Govt is spending ₹150 crore on Ganga Sagar Mela in 2023, claims Minister

“The Ganga Sagar Mela is being held earlier than the Ram Mandir consecration ceremony in Ayodhya on January 22 and thus the Trinamool Congress desires to make use of the success of the occasion for political mileage for the Lok Sabha polls,” Prof. Chakraborty stated. The tutorial added that he doesn’t consider that the island positioned on the mouth of the Bay of Bengal can maintain one crore folks in just a few days.

In the meantime, seven Ministers of the West Bengal Authorities took inventory of the preparations at Sagar Island as 1000’s of individuals took a dip on the confluence of river Ganga and the ocean on the event of Makar Sankranti. The timing of the holy dip was from 00.13 hours on January 15 to 00.13 hours on January 16.

There was a dense fog round Sagar Island within the early hours of January 15 which had affected the motion of vessels. State’s Transport Minister Snehasish Chakraborty stated that about 400 anti-fog lights have been put in by the State transport division in order that vessels can cross seamlessly from the mainland to the island. About 3,500 buses have been pressed into service for carrying pilgrims. The Minister added that automobiles might be made accessible to pilgrims coming back from Ganga Sagar and automobiles might be offered to go to Kalighat and Dakhineshwar.

Regardless of elaborate preparations and the deployment of 14,000 police personnel, theft continued to pose an issue for the pilgrims. Minister Arup Biswas stated that about 341 incidents of pick-pocketing have been reported out of which 322 folks received their belongings again. About 750 individuals have been arrested for various incidents, the Minister stated.

Pilgrims offer prayer on the beach of Sagar Island at the confluence of River Ganga and Sea on the occasion of Makar Sankranti.

Pilgrims provide prayer on the seashore of Sagar Island on the confluence of River Ganga and Sea on the event of Makar Sankranti.
| Photograph Credit score:
Debasish Bhaduri

Senior Minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay stated that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had predicted that the group of pilgrims this yr can be greater than in earlier years. He added that the variety of camps for pilgrims in Kolkata was elevated this yr. The Ministers additionally claimed that pilgrims visiting the island have been so comfortable that they shouted slogans in help of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The West Bengal Authorities Ministers as soon as once more raised the demand that Ganga Sagar Mela be accorded the ‘Nationwide Mela’ standing. “That is the primary mela within the nation and if this mela just isn’t accorded Nationwide Mela standing then which mela might be. We wish to elevate the query to the Centre and the Prime Minister,” they instructed journalists. 


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