Coast guard beefs up measures to ensure safety of Gangasagar pilgrims
(5 months ago)
Kolkata, Jan 8 : The Indian Coast Guard has beefed up measures to ensure a safe pilgrimage to Ganga Sagar Mela for thousands of people expected to visit Sagar Island in West Bengal January 10-16 on the occasion of the Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti, an official said on Monday.
The convergence of up to four lakh pilgrims on the day of Makar Sankranti - January 14 - for taking the holy dip in the confluence of river Ganga and the Bay of Bengal makes this annual ritual a challenge of gigantic proportions for the ICG, a Defence Ministry spokesperson said.
But this time too, ICG has deployed a host of assets to ensure safety of pilgrims. Hovercraft based at Haldia are tasked to carry out 'Search and Rescue' (SAR) operations as well as to provide security cover along the riverine route.
"The flexibility provided by these amphibious machines make them an ideal equipment for use in a gamut of operations like surveillance, search and rescue, life saving, boarding ops, providing speedy transit to a survivor etc," said Coast Guard DIG M.A. Warsi, who commands the Haldia base.
A life saving team comprising divers and medical personnel has been placed at a nearby location so that time is not wasted in travel.
To thwart threats emanating from sea, fast patrol vessels and interceptor boats are maintaining vigil.
These efforts are supplemented by an Offshore Patrol Vessel with an integral helicopter on board that has been positioned off Sagar island for continuous surveillance.
Dornier Do-228 aircraft have also been deployed to provide long range aerial surveillance and SAR cover for this festival.