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20 lakh pilgrims take holy dip on Makar Sankranti

Press Trust of India  |  Sagar Island (WB) 

Around 20 lakh devotees from across the country and neighbouring Nepal, and today took a holy dip at the confluence of the Ganga and the Bay of in West Bengal's South 24 district on the occasion of

"So far around 20 lakh devotees have taken a dip in the holy water here. Everything went smoothly and there is no report of any untoward incident," South 24 District Y told

With prayers on their lips, the devotees jostled for space since early hours to take a dip in the holy water at Ganga Sagar, also known as 'Sagardwip'.

Every year, on day, an ocean of pilgrims gather here to take a dip at the confluence of the Ganga and the Bay of and offer prayers in the

A woman was killed and eight others injured when the bus in which they were travelling to with an accident near Kachuberia, Rao said.

Sugiya Devi (65), a resident of Jharkhand's Palamu district, was injured in the accident and rushed to a nearby hospital, where she was declared brought dead, the DM said.

A blanket of heavy security cover has been thrown in the area. The has deployed over 3,000 policemen and pressed into service seven drones to for safety of pilgrims.

"I have come here for the first time for the holy snan (dip). All arrangements have been done keeping in mind comfort of the pilgrims," Satish Tiwary, a devotee from Maharashtra's Yavatmal, said.

"We are coming to for the last 20 years and our experience this year was the best. Starting from security arrangements, accommodations, transport and guidance of the and private agencies were simply unparallelled," Ashutosh Diwedi, who visited the Island for the holy dip, said.

The has given to its officials to ensure uninterrupted connectivity during the Mela.

The administration has also installed 500 CCTV cameras along the over 100 km route from Babughat in Kolkata to the

The government has come up with an innovative Sagar Sanjog Scheme for providing real-time information regarding transport facilities for pilgrims.

The disaster management department has made arrangements to get live feed from the mela area to help effectively monitor the proceedings there.

As part of security arrangements, the state has also introduced a real-time monitoring system the Tirtha Sathi.

Besides, 60 giant screens have been placed at different points through which pilgrims would be updated about the timings and tariffs of trains, buses and ferries, tide timings as well as safety precautions.

"This information will be provided in three languages

Bengali, Hindi and English to facilitate the largest number of pilgrims," he said.

Two battalions of the NDRF have been deployed at Ganga Sagar to mitigate any eventuality during the Mela.

In addition, the and the marine police have been deployed at the

Meanwhile, today said that starting this year, the government would celebrate as 'Lok Sanskriti Dibas' to promote folk artistes of the state.

She extended her greetings to the people on the occasion of Makar Sankranti.

"Wishing everyone the best on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. From this year, we will be celebrating this day as Lok Sanskriti Dibas in #Bengal to promote the folk artistes of our State," Banerjee wrote on

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

First Published: Sun, January 14 2018. 20:55 IST