A priest distributes prasadam among the devotees on the occasion of Makar Sankranti in Sagar Island, West Bengal. (Press Trust of India)
Sagar Island, West Bengal:
About five lakh devotees today took holy dip in the confluence of the river Ganga and the Bay of Bengal on the auspicious occasion of 'Makar Sankranti'.
With this, the total number of pilgrims, coming from different parts of the country and abroad, who took holy dip here since January 10 rose to eight lakh, District Magistrate Sanjay Basu said.
The number of devotees will rise as the 'Makar Snan' began at 1.30 pm and will continue till tomorrow evening, Basu said.
About 6,000 policemen have been deployed in the area with four ministers Subrata Mukherjee, Manish Gupta, Firhad Hakim and Manturam Pakhira camping at the ground and nearby places.
Besides police, coast guards and Navy personnel are also on the guard.
The government has pitched 200 temporary tents along with 53 NGOs including Bharat Sevasram Sangh, ISKCON and Loknath Mission besides Red Cross.
Besides, the government has also set up four temporary hospitals where 400 doctors, nurses, para-medics and health workers have been working round the clock, the district magistrate said.