ANI Photo | Mamata writes to PM Modi to declare Ganga Sagar Mela ‘National Fair’

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to designate the Ganga Sagar Mela, an annual celebration in the state during Makar Sankranti, as a ‘National Fair.’
Additionally, she extended an invitation for PM Modi to visit Ganga Sagar, emphasizing the event’s uniqueness, significance, magnitude, and spiritual depth.
“…considering the uniqueness, significance, magnitude and spiritual depth associated with the Ganga Sagar Mela, I would earnestly appeal to you to kindly consider to declare Ganga Sagar Mela a National Fair and to kindly take some time out of your busy schedule to make a visit,” the Chief Minister said in the letter.
The Chief Minister mentioned that the Ganga Sagar Mela is one of the “largest spiritual human congregations” in the world and comes next only to Kumbha Mela.
Giving details of the unique fair, the Chief Minister said, “Ganga Sagar Mela takes place on the holy confluence where the mighty river Ganga meets the majestic Bay of Bengal in the great Indian Oceanic network, and such geographical splendour is globally unmatched. The Sagar Island (where the Mela is held) is adjacent to the Sundarbans area.”
The Chief Minister said that while the Ganga Sagar Mela is celebrated every year on the day of Makar Sankranti, the Kumbh Mela is held every twelve years and otherwise every four years.
Mamata said that the Ganga Sagar Mela dates back to a period when the Indian Oceanic network connected the Eastern Indian trade with ancient Greco-Roman commerce.
On the religious significance of the Mela, Mamata said, “The Ganga Sagar Mela has served as a milestone of faith to followers of Hinduism. The event has deep mythological and astrological significances, with the Mela itself together with Kapil Muni and the Sagar Island having been mentioned in the ancient Indian epics such as the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and Kalidasa’s Raghuvamsham.”
The Chief Minister said that “the Ganga Sagar Mela is the only mela of its kind in the entire world which is organized on an island, not connected with the mainland, and yet lakhs and lakhs of pilgrims visit the mela to take the holy dip.”
“Devotees from across the world, the length and breadth of the country and especially from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Gujarat to name a few, visit the Mela in large numbers. Almost 1 crore pilgrims visited Ganga Sagar Mela and this year it is likely to surpass this number,” the Chief Minister said.
Mamata said that the state government has taken a large number of initiatives to ensure smooth and safe movement of the pilgrims, which have been fully funded by the state exchequer.
“Facilities for movement from Kolkata to Kakdwip, crossing over the river by launch, vessel, barge, accommodation, power supply, road connectivity, lighting arrangements, drinking water, medical facilities, sanitation, fire fighting services, etc. are being provided to the pilgrims. There has been an excellent feedback from the pilgrims and the Non Government Organisations about the excellent arrangements that are provided by the State Government for the pilgrims,” the Chief Minister mentioned.
Mamata said that the state government has to incur huge expenditures to organize the Mela of this magnitude, which is at present fully funded by the state government, without any contribution from central government.
Mamata mentioned that she had earlier requested the central government to declare the Ganga Sagar Mela as a ‘National Fair’ or festival that is equivalent to the Kumbh Mela, which is recognized as a ‘National Fair’. However, a decision on it is still awaited, she added.
The West Bengal Chief Minister had demanded ‘national mela’ status for Gangasagar Mela earlier as well. In 2021, Mamata Banerjee complained that while the Centre funds the Kumbh Mela, it does not provide any financial assistance for the Gangasagar Mela.
The Gangasagar Mela is being held this year from January 8-16

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