Over three lakh pilgrims have reached Sagar Island to take a holy dip at the confluence of river Ganga and Bay of Bengal on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, and 0.63 per cent of them tested positive for Covid-19, an official said on Thursday. Is. Is.
RT-PCR tests were conducted on pilgrims at the Gangasagar Mela as part of measures to contain the spread of the virus. A two-member committee constituted by the Calcutta High Court to monitor the adherence to COVID-19 norms at the fair inspected the site during the day, a senior official of South 24 Parganas district administration said.
The committee, comprising retired Justice Samasti Chattopadhyay and a member of the State Legal Services Authority, asked the administration to stop overcrowding, the official said. A total of 3.2 lakh pilgrims from West Bengal and elsewhere in the country have undergone RT-PCR tests at various embarkation points on their way to Sagar Island and only 0.63 per cent have been reported, the official said.
He said that State Energy Minister Arup Biswas and Women and Child Development Minister Shashi Panja are camping at the spot and coordinating with the District Magistrate and other officials for the smooth conduct of the Mela. He also said that the number of pilgrims visiting the island is relatively less as compared to the previous years.
Puri Shankaracharya Nischalananda Saraswati, who visited the island, told reporters that there have been unwarranted attempts to politicize the pandemic situation and the holy event. He said that he and other saints were following the guidelines laid down by the government.
Three women pilgrims were taken from the islands to different Howrah hospitals due to medical emergency. Of these, two Geeta Devi and Reena Krishna are from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh respectively, while Swarnalata Mandal was a resident of Sagar Island. Every year pilgrims from across the country and abroad gather at Sagar Island, about 100 km from Kolkata, to take a holy dip on the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti, which falls on a Friday this year.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday urged the devotees to follow the COVID-19 protocol.