With the annual Ganga Sagar Mela in South 24 Parganas district kicking off on Tuesday, the state government has made an elaborate arrangement for lakhs of people who come from different parts of world.
According to the local administration, people have already started visiting Ganga Sagar for a holy dip in the confluence of river Ganga and Bay of Bengal on Poush Sankranti (January 14 and 15).
Personnel across security forces, including Coast Guard, Army, NDRF and marine police, have been deployed in Sagar Islands where the two-day affair will take place.
Police said around 1,000 CCTV cameras have been installed at ghats, buffer zone and the mela vicinity, besides 12 drones will be used. Sundarbans and Kuchuberia police teams will carry out continous patrolling in the river from Lot 8.
Quick Response Teams are posted at transit points like Lot 8, Namkhana, Chemaguri and Kachuberia. Hundreds of boats have been kept standby in case of any emergency.
According to the police sources, thousands of civic volunteers have also been deployed in the Sagar Islands to assist pilgrilms.
The administration has developed a real-time monitoring system to keep round-the-clock tabs on the situation. Using this system, all senior administrative and police officers will be able to watch live footage of all the transits.
An integrated control room has been set up to keep track on weather conditions, tidal developments and movement of the pilgrims from Kolkata to Ganga Sagar. Nearly 60 staff will be working 24×7 shift-wise.
“The rush of pilgrims will start from January 14 and continue till January 16. During these days we will keep vigil for 24 hours. This year breath analysers will also be used at the mela to check drivers if they are in inebriated state,” said an official.
The state Transport Department is already running an air ambulance and 2,200 buses for Ganga Sagar pilgrims, 300 more than last year. As many as 100 additional buses have been kept as reserve for January 15 and 16.
Besides, thousands of toilets have been set up.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had recently visited Kakdwip in the district where she reviewed the Ganga Sagar Mela preparations and asked the officials to ensure hassle-free experience for the pilgrims.