By Priti | PUBLISHED: 12, Dec 2018, 22:06 pm IST | UPDATED: 12, Dec 2018, 22:22 pm IST
New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh government along with Central government is leaving no stone unturned in making Kumbh 2019 at Prayagraj a mega mega event this year. Massive arrangements on the lines of earlier years and more are in the process of being put in place for devotees and travellers domestic and international. Ardh Kumbh 2019 will be held between January 14 and March 3. It comes in 6 years where the Mahakumbh repeats in 12 years. 12-15 crore people visited Kumbh in 2018.
It is estimated that at any given time over 10 million people visit the holy place and on special days it crosses 100 million. The festival will last for 55 days on the banks of Triveni Sangam, the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mystical Saraswati.
This time too the Uttar Pradesh government has promised to provide all basic facilities to pilgrims visiting the city. Local administration is working extensively to give a complete makeover to the city. Road, chowks, lanes leading to the Sangam are being widened and cleaned to facilitate smooth stay for lakhs of pilgrims. 800 trains have been facilitated for people heading for Kumbh.
According to an estimate, a total of Rs 2,500 will be spent on making arrangements for the event. This amount is over two times more than the state government had spent in 2013. The state government has sanctioned Rs 500 crore for developing special infrastructure at Akharas.
As per Guinness Book of Records Kumbh is the largest congregation of mankind in the world. First recorded text on Kumbh is by HunTsang of 7th century AD during King Harsh Vardhan’s time.
Dishing out information on the various aspects of Kumbh at Allahabad that has been lately christened as Prayagraj, Additional Chief Secretary Awanish K Awasthi who is incharge Tourism, Information and Religious Affairs apart from Roads in UP informed, ‘’Kumbh is a celebration. Govt of UP has undertaken large no of projects within the kumbh area, that include projects of infrastructure. Infrastructure development leads to better tourism, employment, thereby leading to development of the state. A committed team of officers and ministers is constantly monitoring the works at Kumbh.”
With the Tagline ‘’Chalo Kumbh Chalen’’, the govt has launched promotional campaigns at all major public spots and social media to help spread information.
Awasthi informed that Government of UP has established a Mela Authority called the Mela Pradhikaran, now a permanent organisation, as every year a magh mela is organised in around January February in which 40-50 lakh people pour in from all corners of India. About 3 crore pilgrims are expected on Mauni Amavasya which falls on February 4 and 20 lakh pilgrims expected daily according to Information Department. A number of 20 lakh Kalpvasis and 10 lakh foreign tourists are estimated at Prayagraj this Kumbh.
There are arrangements of Samuhik Bhoj which are an integral part of Sanatan dharma and hindu culture. Tent cities, the kind of Kutch in Gujarat are being planned on the sands of ganga.
Awasthi informed, ‘’For the main event dates, which see processions of Sadhus and sants in huge numbers marching from their Akharas for a dip in the holy confluence preparations are going on a feverish pitch. Mela area is twice as big from last year. 20 sectors with 5000 camps of various sizes have been approved. The Kumbh area has been built in 3200 hectar. Approximately about 12 crore pilgrims are expected during this time both kalpvasis and foreign tourists. Large no of infrastructure works have been undertaken worth Rs 2500-2600 crores, More than Rs 3000 crore has already been spent on infrastructure which includes roads, water sanitation, overbridges, underpasses, electricity, LED lights, tourist facilities, guest houses, health facilities.”
He emphasised that the flavor of the day being ‘’Swatch Bharat’’, more than a lakh toilets have been constructed as compared to last year’s 40,000 toilets, which is two and a half times more than last year. System for scientific disposal of waste has been specially worked upon this time. The entire city has been painted as a result of ‘’Paint my city’’ campaign supported by Tourism Department. Large no of accommodation is coming up, he said. Dormitory, single room or with better budget one can stay in the tent city that offers luxury tents too.
Awasthi informed that large number of city buses have been arranged in the kumbh area for tourists coming in and going out of the mela area and the city. 500 buses colored in the color of kumbh to provide transport for the visitors although most of them travel on foot.
Special Sound and light show on the Allahabad fort is a new this time as the historical fort that is a part of the restricted defence area has been opened up for tourists where a large number of events planned.
The UP govt and police has received a lot of flak for security arrangement’s in the past years. This time it has ensured much more foolproof system in place. Lost and Found task will be done electronically this time. Additional Chief Secretary Awasthi said, ‘’Just float the picture of the lost thing/person/child on the social media group and it will be taken care of by their police wing.’’
Also Banking and telcom services which face huge hitches during the mela have been paid special attention to. CSRs have also been undertaken. A website, mobile app and social media handle has been created for the security and information for people.
Director Information UP government Shishir informed media persons that a Media centre area of 12000sq feet has been built which will provide free Wifi, xerox and other facilities. Room for Press conferences handling a capacity of 500 people has been erected. A social media hub has been put in place.
For security ACS Awasthi ensured that large number of police force is being deployed. He said although it’s a challenge but it will be taken care of.
Also for pure and good water all polluting industries upstream have been closed 2 months earlier, he informed. Water from Tehri has been released into Ganga to provide safe and good quality drinking water.
The main event dates are Makar Sankranti on January 15, 2019, Paush Purnima on 21 January, Basant Panchami on February 10, Maghi Purnima on February 19, Mahashivratri on March 4 2019.
by : Priti Prakash
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