Prayagraj: With just five days left for the annual Magh Mela to begin, the authorities are leaving no stone unturned to ensure foolproof safety and security of pilgrims.
For the first time, the police have formed a special squad to check begging in the Mela area.
The police have already verified credentials of 1,200-odd people but beggars usually arrive form unknown places and throng the Mela area to receive alms that are given by devotees.
SP (Magh Mela) Puja Yadav said, "For the first time, an anti-begging squad has been mobilized to spare pilgrims the harassment. Adequate forces have been deployed at all police stations and outposts."
According to intelligence inputs, anti-social elements could enter the Mela area in the guise of beggars since that would allow them uninterrupted movement in the area and in the various religious camps that are set up during the 43-day long Mela.
She said that the intelligence wing was compiling security inputs and the Mela area would be turned into a fortress.
The stringent security measures are being implemented in the wake of the Supreme Court order on Ram temple in Ayodhya and also recent protests against the amended citizenship law.
"We have a concrete plan in place. Three special teams have been assigned the task of verification of credentials. We also have a two-tier safety plan for devotees taking the holy dip. Apart from deep-water barricading at all Ghats, nets have been installed too," the SP added.
The authorities have already seized six boats for not having life vests while 24 others have been let off with a warning.
"Boatmen who are not applying for the mandatory life jackets may lose their license," The SP said.