With no untoward incident reported from any part of the Mela area, lakhs of devotees drawn from different parts of the country assembled on the banks of holy Sangam on Monday to take a dip on the occasion of Paush Poornima the second official snan in Prayagraj (Allahabad) at the ongoing Mahakumbh.
People had started arriving in the city since early morning and were seen heading towards the Mela area on different routes through various means of transport provided by the Mela administration.
Elaborate arrangements were made by the Mela administration and district police to manage the flow of pilgrims with senior officials including the Mela Adhikari and SSP Kumbh personally going around the Mela area to oversee the management.
Traffic restrictions were in force right from Sunday night as heavy vehicles were stopped at different entry points to the city and diverted elsewhere through other assigned routes. Entry of four wheelers and two wheelers was banned in the Mela area on Monday to avoid any hassles, said a Mela functionary. Rows of vehicles which had ferried visitors and pilgrims were seen parked outside the Mela area at parking points set up by the Mela administration.
A senior official of Civil Defence department, Rakesh Kumar Tiwari said “Volunteers and sector wardens were posted at the bathing areas to ensure that no mishap takes place during the heavy rush of visitors. Our team of volunteers also nabbed two women who were trying to rob an elderly woman who had come from Kolkata to take a holy dip. The accused were later handed over to the Mela police who were questioning them, he added.
However such incidents failed to deter the spirit of visitors who along with the locals headed towards the banks of Sangam even though some of them faced difficulty in locating the camps of their spiritual leaders set up here. Many among them were seen enquiring from the cops posted on duty about the location of these camps.
Meanwhile, braving the winter and adverse conditions, lakhs of kalpawasisare camping in tents at different sectors in the Mela area to attain moksha even though many of them complained of lack of facilities in some areas including Sector 15 and Sector 5 where public toilets and community taps have been provided at far off areas forcing the kalpawasis to walk upto the spot during morning chill.
Lamenting that the Mela authorities should have taken note of this fact, a 65 year old woman Phoolmati Devi said “Yeh sab to sabsi zaroori suvidha hai jiska dhyan pehley se rakhna chahiye. Some Naga saints also camping in the same area said that since land allotted to them is quite far from the venue where they are presently camping they have to bear the brunt of being forced to use community taps and toilets at far off spots. When they tried to contact the sanitary staff of the area they were told that there is no provision of providing them close to the spot where they are staying because the land has been earmarked for other purpose.