Updated January 8th, 2024 at 23:45 IST
Mamata Banerjee Accuses Centre Of Not Giving 'A Single Penny' For Gangasagar Mela
Expressing despair, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said that though Gangasagar Mela was "one of the best" religious congregations in the world, the Centre has not given it the due recognition, with the state government instead helping support the Mela.
SAGAR ISLAND, WEST BENGAL: Expressing despair, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said that though Gangasagar Mela was "one of the best" religious congregations in the world, the Centre has not given it the due recognition.
Banerjee said she has written several letters to the Centre in this connection and also to UNESCO seeking a heritage tag for the Gangasagar Mela where lakhs of pilgrims gather during the Makar Sankranti to take a holy dip at the confluence of the Ganga and the Bay of Bengal here.
Speaking at an official programme at the Sagar Island in the South 24 Parganas district, she said that it was her government that was working for the annual event despite no help from the Centre.
"Kumbh Mela is a big fair and it gets all help from the Centre. We also must remember that the site of Kumbh Mela is connected by road. Gangasagar Mela, which is held on an island, is one of the best such fairs in the world but I don't know why the Centre is yet to give it the due recognition," she said.
"I have written to the Centre several times in this regard. It has neither replied nor given us a single penny for the Gangsagar Mela," the chief minister said.
As the Centre is not helping, the state government is doing everything in the Gangasagar Mela, Banerjee said.
"I have also written to UNESCO. I think Gangasagar Mela is as big as Kumbh Mela, and it should be given a heritage status. We have seen around one crore pilgrims coming to the Gangasagar Mela each year," she said.
The UNESCO in 2022 accorded the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) tag to the Durga Puja of Kolkata.
Banerjee said that her government was working on building a bridge to connect the Gangasagar island to the mainland.
"We have written to the central government to construct a bridge on Muri Ganga (river), but they are silent on that as well. It will take a lot of money to construct a bridge there. We are preparing a DPR for that," she said.
Banerjee reviewed the preparedness for the congregation in the afternoon and inaugurated several developmental projects worth Rs 61 crore.
The Gangasagar Mela, which is held on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, will continue till January 17. Over 90 lakh people from across the country are expected to attend the congregation this year. PTI SCH SOM NN
Published January 8th, 2024 at 23:45 IST