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Four people die of cold in Gangasagar fair, half a million to take holy dip

IANS  |  Kolkata 

Over half a million pilgrims are expected to take the holy dip in the Ganga where it flows out into the on the occasion of on Sunday at the annual Gangasagar Fair, with the and other agencies making elaborate arrangements to ensure peace and safety of the devotees.

Y Ratnakar Rao meanwhile said four pilgrims, who had come for the holy dip, died due to severe cold in the island.

About 150 km from Kolkata in South 24 district, the Gangasagar island is considered auspicious by the Hindus, who gather here on Makar Sankranti, for a holy dip and to pray by offering coconuts at the

The devout believe that a single dip in the sacred water washes off sins of one's lifetime.

"We are expecting over five lakh devotees this time. We have taken all measures to ensure peace and full safety of the people," a said.

A number of senior ministers of the state have been camping in the area, while sniffer dogs were busy checking the beach at Sagar, while a large number of police personnel are on duty.

With the gathering of pilgrims increasing every passing moment, the fair grounds looked splendid in a riot of colours, with people speaking in a great variety of languages and wearing different attire.

The monks and ascetics were seen performing 'havan' and other Hindu rituals, while a number of religious organisations brought out rallies.

The has deployed a host of assets, with its Haldia-based hovercraft tasked to carry out 'Search and Rescue' (SAR) operations as well as to provide security cover along the riverine route.

A life-saving team comprising divers and medical personnel has been placed at a nearby location, while fast patrol vessels and interceptor boats are maintaining vigil.

Dornier Do-228 aircraft have also been deployed to provide long range aerial surveillance and SAR cover for this festival.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, January 13 2018. 21:36 IST