Over 500 pilgrims who have been trapped in West Bengal’s ocean since last night were rescued, news agency ANI reported on Monday citing Indian Coast Guard. The pilgrims were on their way to Gangasagar, which is located at the confluence of the Hooghly River and the Bay of Bengal, when their ferries were stranded in the ocean near Kakdwip due to a low tide and dense fog. 

Every year on Makar Sakranti, lakhs of people from all across the country flock to Sagar Island in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas to take a dip in Gangasagar. 

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According to officials, the Indian Coast Guard has sent boats to rescue the trapped pilgrims, the report said. 

More than 51 lakh pilgrims from across the state and country visited Gangasagar in the last few days, minister Aroop Biswas said, adding that another 10 lahks were on their way to Sagar Island.

The ‘Fog’ Hampered, Disrupted Ferry Operations In Gangasagar: 

The fog has hampered visibility and severely disrupted ferry operations to Gangasagar for pilgrims.

Due to poor visibility last week, the South 24 Parganas Lot 8 boat service had to be discontinued at 8 p.m. on Friday till 9 am, the next day, delaying pilgrims’ arrival for Makar Sankranti. According to the Telegraph, bus services connecting to ferry services on the Namkhana-Benubon route were also delayed till Saturday morning.

Despite the suspension of ferry services, numerous pilgrims took the holy dip at Gangasagar, the confluence of the Hooghly River and the Bay of Bengal, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, the report said. 

During Makar Sankranti, severe fog blanketed Gangasagar Island for two consecutive evenings, making it difficult for vessels to convey pilgrims to the island. Because of the severe fog in the area, no streamers or vessels could operate on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The ramifications of this were seen on Sunday, when Gangasagar Mela organisers began making urgent appeals urging people not to leave the Gangasagar Mela grounds. Despite the fact that the situation improved after a few hours, enormous groups gathered at various traffic crossings, including the bus stop, The Hindu reported. 

The roads were clogged, and the befuddled motorists had no idea where to go. The vessels and streamers must navigate a restricted channel because they operate on a badly silted river bed. When visibility is low due to fog, operating the vessels and streamers from the mainland to Sagar becomes difficult, the report added. 

(With Inputs From Agencies)

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