West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday asked pilgrims going to visit the Gangasagar Mela at Sagar island not to pay heed to any instigation and perform the rituals in a free mind. She also advised them to contact the police and inform the administration in case of need rather than giving attention to instigation.
"Do not pay heed to any instigation. Contact the administration and the police in case you need any help. Safely go there and return. We have taken all sort of precautions," she said at Babughat here where thousands of pilgrims gather on the way to reach Sagar Island. "We have constructed new roads, new guest houses, new hotels. We want a peaceful mela. Several measures have been taken to keep it peaceful. Visits of several VVIPs would be restricted to facilitate visits of the pilgrims," the chief minister said.
Gangasagar mela is an annual congregation of Hindu pilgrims at the Sagar island where they take holy dips at the confluence of the Ganga and the Bay of Bengal during the Makar Sankranti. This year Makar Sankranti date is January 14. Lambasting the Centre, she said it was taking a long time to build a bridge over the Muriganga, which her government has proposed and the Centre accepted. She said the state government would build the bridge on its own and directed the chief secretary for a detailed project report for the proposed bridge.
"We have decided not to accept alms. We will build the bridge over the Muriganga on our own," she said. The West Bengal government had earlier said it will share 74 per cent cost to build a new major port in Tajpur as it will build a bridge over the Muriganga river to help pilgrims visiting Sagar Island. The triangular Island, situated around 130 km from the city, is separated from the mainland by rivers Ganga and Muriganga on two sides and faces the Bay of Bengal on the third side.
(With inputs from agencies.)