The Gangasagar Mela, which is the second largest congregation of people after the Kumbha Mela, will go online due to the Covid pandemic like Durga Puja and Kali Puja.

The state government has come up with e-darshan App wherein devotees will be able to experience a ‘virtual tour’ of Kapilmuni’s temple from their homes. The events at the fair will be live-streamed via this App.

A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting to take stock of the mela preparations in Nabanna today. Chaired by state chief secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay, senior officials of many departments like rural development, power, urban development, fire services were present at the meeting. Among the Covid management initiatives that have been planned this time include setting up medical camps at railway stations, testing facilities, safe homes, quarantine centres and isolation wards.

In view of the pandemic, there will be an increase in the number of buses within Sagar Island and Outram Ghat to Kakdwip/ Namkhana.

Two air ambulances and three water ambulances would be pressed to service this time to help critically ill persons to reach the nearest medical facilities from the Gangasagar Mela.

Like in previous years, adequate number of CCTVs, drones and quick response teams would be deployed for monitoring the movement of pilgrims.

Every year hundreds devotees take a holy dip at the confluence of river Ganga at the annual Gangasagar Mela in Sagar Island on Makar Sankranti. However, conducting the fair by maintaining the Covid protocols is a tough challenge for the state administration this year.

“Unlike other places of pilgrimage, Gangasagar is not directly connected by rail or road. As a result, it often becomes difficult to ferry a large number of pilgrims to the Sagar Island,” said an official.