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Lakhs take holy dip at Gangasagar on Makar Sankranti

PTI | Sagarisland | Updated: 14-01-2021 22:25 IST | Created: 14-01-2021 22:25 IST
Lakhs take holy dip at Gangasagar on Makar Sankranti

Lakhs of pilgrims tookthe holy dip at Gangasagar on Makar Sankranti at theconfluence of River Ganga and the Bay of Bengal and offeredprayers at the Kapil Muni temple here on Thursday, West Bengalminister Subrata Mukherjee said.

According to the Hindu calendar, the holy dip on MakarSankranti is scheduled from 6.02 am on Thursday to 6.02 am onFriday.

After following the rituals, most of the pilgrims havestarted their journey back home, the state panchayat ministertold a press conference at the fairground.

Mukherjee said that 15.5 lakh pilgrims took the holydip over the last few days till Thursday amid COVID-19 safetyprotocols being maintained by the police and volunteers.

He said that 10.90 lakh people underwent screeningtest for coronavirus and another 36,600 pilgrims weresubjected to rapid antigen test.

Of these people, only six have tested positive for thevirus and they are under treatment, the minister said addingthat the patients are doing fine.

''So far, more than two lakh people have availed thefacility of e-snan (e-bathing) and around 51 lakh people fromacross the country have opted for e-darshan (e-visit),'' hesaid.

The West Bengal government has made an arrangement toprovide 'e-snan' kit - a small container with the holy waterof Gangasagar - to pilgrims at the fair site in Sagar Islandfor free and for a nominal fee to people who order for it fromother places.

The pandemic led to a low turnout, the minister said,adding that all arrangements for a safe pilgrimage were madeby the state government.

Mukherjee said that pilgrims were provided with facemasks and hand sanitiser in addition to other measures takenin keeping with a Calcutta High Court order to ensure thatCOVID-19 safety protocols are maintained.

The Calcutta High Court had on Wednesday allowed theGangasagar Mela to be held this year while asking the WestBengal government to pursue pilgrims to opt for 'e-snan' toavoid crowding for the holy dip in view of the pandemic.

The Director of Health Services of the stategovernment has, in a report to the high court, said that therisk of Covid-19 transmission through bathing in flowing waterlike a river or saline water in a sea is extremely low.

He said that as a measure of abundant precaution,pilgrims were to be allowed to go for a dip in a staggeredmanner maintaining safe distance between one another.

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



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