Coast Guard enhances surveillance for Gangasagar Mela

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In this April 13, 2017 photo, a local woman helps Elizabeth Brenner, left, a mother from Minnesota, take a dip in the waters of Gangasagar in West Bengal, India, where the Ganges river flows into the ocean. Brenner was on a pilgrimage following the last footsteps of her son who died while studying abroad in India. She believes that part of her son’s remains flowed across India through the Ganges river into the Bay of Bengal. (AP Photo/Rishabh R. Jain)

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has enhanced surveillance along the coastline of West Bengal for the Gangasagar Mela, an official said Saturday. Lakhs of devotees from across the country take a holy dip at Sagar Island situated at the confluence of Hoogly river and the Bay of Bengal during the annual Gangasagar Mela on Makar Sankranti.

The ICG has placed hovercraft, high-speed patrol vessels and interceptor boats along the coastline for ensuring foolproof security, the official said. Hovercrafts have been deployed round-the-clock throughout the mela area, he said, adding that amphibious crafts facilitate smooth execution of search and rescue operations and security cover over land and riverine route.

A life-saving rapid action team comprising divers with rubber gemini boats has also been deployed at the mela site to thwart any threat emanating from the sea or to save people from drowning in case of any exigency.

“The Coast Guard fast patrol vessels and interceptor boats are continuously maintaining seaward side patrol,” the official said.

For enhanced safety and security, aerial cover by helicopters onboard advanced offshore patrol vessels, deployed off Sagar Island, and regular sorties by Dornier aircraft have been provided, he said. “The Coast Guard is also maintaining electronic surveillance through Coastal Security Network (CSN) system,” he said.

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