Kolkata, Jan 9 (PTI) The Indian Navy has positioned a team of elite divers at Gangasagar for the upcoming ‘Makar Sankranti’ fair for rescue and relief operations in case of any eventuality, an official said Wednesday.

Around 18 to 20 lakh devotees are expected to visit ‘Ganga Sagar Mela’ in the next one week, he said.

“Like every year, this year too, the Indian Navy has positioned a specialist diving team from January 8 to 17 for rescue and relief operations in case of any eventuality during the ‘Mela’,” the Navy official said.

This deployment of the IN diving team from Eastern Naval Command comprising 10 divers has been coordinated by the Naval Officer-in-Charge, West Bengal, on request from the West Bengal government, he said.

In addition, NDRF and Indian Coast Guard personnel are also likely to be deployed at Sagar Island in subsequent days.

The triangular Sagar Island, situated around 130 km from Kolkata, is separated from the mainland by Ganga and Muriganga rivers on two sides, and faces the sea on the third side.

During the auspicious occasion of ‘Makar Sankranti’ in January, lakhs of devotees from across India, and neighbouring countries of Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh congregate at the annual ‘Gangasagar Mela’ to pay obeisance at Kapil Muni temple after taking a holy bath at the confluence of river Ganga and the Bay of Bengal.

The ‘Gangasagar Mela’ is rated as the second largest assembly of people after the quadrennial ‘Kumbha Mela’, he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.