Kolkata: Besides making all arrangements for the safety and security of the people visiting the Gangasagar Mela in January to take the holy dip at the confluence of River Ganga and the Bay of Bengal, the Bengal Government has also decided to bring them under an insurance scheme of Rs 5 lakh each.
A high-level meeting headed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held at Nabanna on December 8 also discussed the preparations and other aspects about the annual pilgrimage. In 2018, it will be held from January 10 to 16.
A senior IPS officer and a senior administrative officer, both with vast experience on overseeing the Gangasagar Mela during previous years, have been assigned to supervise the preparations and the fair itself. Directions have been given to set up a permanent bus stand and also to ensure that no unnecessary congestion takes place.
There will be sufficient number of vessels to ensure that people do not face trouble in reaching Sagar Island by crossing the Muriganga river from the mainland. RO-RO (roll on-roll off) services would be introduced by the government for that purpose, so that both vehicles and their owners can cross.
Live every year, closed-circuit television (CCTV) system will be used to maintain video surveillance at the fair site, and at a few other areas. This year, though, a new aspect has been introduced – live tracking. The real-time monitoring system, with feed from the CCTV system, will enable all senior administrative and police officers to watch live footages of all the transit and other crucial points on their mobile phones.
The State Irrigation Department has also been directed to carry out dredging at different locations on Muriganga to ensure easy movement of vessels. The State Civil Defence Department will place speed boats and other arrangements to combat any untoward situation, if they arise.
In a bid to keep the fairground clean and green, the concerned officials have been asked to take necessary steps to keep the island free from open defecation. Women-friendly toilets will also be set up. There will be volunteers to urge people to use dustbins.