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GANGASAGAR MELA 2011 :: DEVOTEES THRONGED IN FRONT KAPILMUNI TEMPLE.
Upendra Bharti | Special Correspondent | Hindu Existence at Gangasagar Dham : 14th January, 2011: Sab tirath bar bar, Gangasagar ekbar, may we visit other holy places several times – but one must visit Gangasagar once in lifetime, keeping it in mind Hindus from all over the world, from Nepal, Thailand, West Indies, Canada, Japan, far from Australia and from neighbouring countries like Bhutan and Bangladesh and from every state of India have already reached the confluence of Ganges at Sagar Sangam situated in southern part of West Bengal in India.
An estimated five lakh pilgrims are expected to take the holy dip at the confluence of the Ganga and the Bay of Bengal here on Makar Sankranti tomorrow when the Ganga Sagar Mela also begins. The silver sands warm the day time to an extent but chilled the atmosphere at 8′ C. Who cares? The Hindu Confluence at Gangasagar is ready to embrace all.
The most auspicious time for the holy dip is between between 4:47 AM tomorrow and 3:30 PM on January 15, according to the Hindu almanac.
So far, over 1.50 lakh pilgrims have arrived from different parts of the country to Sagar Island in South 24 Parganas district.
District Magistrate N S Nigam said that though there was no threat perception, the administration would not take any chances and adequate security measures have been taken.
An 8,000-strong police force, the Bomb Squad, sniffer dogs have been deployed with civil defence personnel patrolling the waters in speedboats.
Coast Guard and naval vessels were also patrolling the waters.
The administration has arranged for accommodation in huts made with hogla leaves. The accommodation has been increased by ten per cent this year.
Camps have been set up by various social welfare organisations and NGOs.
West Bengal Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh and Home Secretary G D Gautama have visited the island to supervise the arrangements.
The state authority of West Bengal has imposed Rs. 5/- per head as Pilgrimage Tax (Jijiah Tax you may call it) in this ancient Hindu congregation along with a heavy escalation of fare rates of conveyances. ( Kolkata to Lot 8 – the last point of main land : normal fare Rs. 40/- , mela time Rs. 60/- to 70/- || Vessel fare to reach Sagar island : normal fare Rs.6.50/-, mela time Rs.45/- including Rs.5/- as Pilgrimage tax || Kachuberia at Sagar to Mela Ground : normal fare Rs.13/-, mela time Rs. 30/-). The anti Hindu authority in India (Congress) and the State authority ( CPIM) both are forcefully collecting this derogatory charges under a hidden connivance from all Hindu pilgrimages even from the poorest Hindus, while they allowed over Rs. 2800 crores to the Muslims even the rich Muslims just in the year 2009-2010.
More over the State authority in WB is charging Rs 400/- for each small vehicle and Rs. 600/- for each big vehicle at two transit points at Harwood Point ( Lot-8) and Namkhana in the main land as parking fees apart from the pilgrimage tax. These fees are collected by the District Collectorate, South 24 Pgs. The South 24 Parganas District Zill Parisad (the District Civic Body) is now under the control of Trinmool Congress of Ms. Mamta Banerjee (Central Railway minister), who is interested to display her countless hordings in a welcome mode picture throughout the NH 117 the Kolkata-Kakdwip-Namkhana roadways, but speechless about the such kind o loot from the Hindu pilgrims reaching Gangasagar.
Moreover, the Great Mamta Banerjee (Central Railway Minister, India), protagonist of Rezwanur sensation and antagonist of Taslima episode is taking extra Rs.3/- Gangasagar Mela surcharge upon any ticket costing more than Rs.16/- , if it is destinated towards Diamond Harbour, Kakdwip or Namkhana or from these Rly stations under Eastern Railway. These three railway station are the main places from where the point of Gangasagar can be reached by roadways. The flag-holder of change Mamta Banerjee never thought this change to give some relief to the Hindu pilgrims coming to Sagar Mela facing many a constraints including a minimum special trains to Sagar Mela in this year.
Swami Nischalananda Swaraswati, Shankaracharya of Govardhan Peetham, Puri, vehemently opposed this unreasonable and un-equal Pilgrimage tax over Hindus and the poor facilities given to the Sagar Pilgrims reaching there for their divine quest.
Magh Mela Fair 2011 started from 14 January 2011 at Allahabad- Prayag Raj , Uttar Pradesh, India and shall be ended on 3rd March 2011 with Maha Shivratri Snan.
In India, Hindus take holy dip at the time of Makar Sankranti in every river they consider sacred like Gomati, Jamuna, Chandrabhaga, Godavari, Brahmaputra and even in holy ponds and natural water resources.
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