Security was tightened across West Bengal ahead of the Gangasagar Mela to mark the occasion of Makar Sankranti when close to 16 lakh devotees come for a holy dip at the confluence of the Ganga and the Bay of Bengal, an official said on Monday. The area has been wrapped in a thick blanket of security with the state government deploying a large contingent of police. Twenty drones and 800 CCTV cameras have also been deployed to keep a tab on the devotees.
The Indian Coast Guard has placed hovercraft, high-speed patrol vessels and interceptor boats along the coastline. "Hovercrafts are being deployed round the clock throughout the mela. The crafts being amphibious in nature facilitate smooth execution of search and rescue operation and security cover across the river," a northeast Coast Guard official said.
"In addition, a life saving rapid action team comprising of rubber Gemini boats with divers has been deployed during the mela to thwart any threat of drowning to the devotees." A number of giant LED screens have been placed at different points in the area through which pilgrims would be updated about the timings and tariffs of trains, buses and ferries as well as tide timings. The Coast Guard has also maintained electronic surveillance through the Coastal Security Network (CSN) system.
(With inputs from agencies.)