Eye in the sky to tell devotees’ count

In order to ascertain the exact headcount of the pilgrims visiting the Sangam area in Allahabad during the Mahakumbh, the Kumbh Mela administration is likely to avail the services of satellite imaging and draw a concrete picture. The technology was first used in 2010 during the Haridwar Mahakumbh to know the exact number of devotees visiting the mela site.

Officials feel that by doing so, the state government would be able to give a global flavour and colour to the mega event, which draws people from various walks of life both from India as well as abroad. Apart from this, helplines would be set up at strategic locations of the entire mela area to guide the visitors about topography, locations of various social and religious organisations and famous bhoole-bhatke shivirs (missing people camp/helpline).

Similarly, details of all organisations camping in the mela area would be displayed sector-wise, so that the devotees and visitors don't face any problem. Instructions have also been issued to construct fire-proof godowns storing materials for use during mela period. Authorities have also mooted a proposal utilising CFL and tube-lights in place of traditional bulbs. And, mela administration would also be setting up zero discharge toilets on both sides of river bank to maintain sanitation.

Divisional commissioner, Devesh Chaturvedi said, "We would be taking an undertaking from organisations and shopkeepers during the allotment of land that they would not be using polythene and articles made out of polythene. In the same regard, we would also be carrying out an awareness campaign among educational institutes and other places apprising them about the disadvantages of polythene." Chaturvedi further maintained that about 2,500 cusec of water would be released in river Ganga during the mega event and adequate water on the Shahi Snan days. Besides, sector markets would be set up at mela areas for the distribution of essential commodities like milk among kalpwasi and visitors.

He also claimed that all the projects regarding road widening, construction, beautification of crossing repair works, setting up of tubewells as well as power sub-stations, four pucca ghats and installation of high mast would be completed by December 2012.

This Mahakumbh, the mela will be spread in around 5911.890 acre and 26 agencies have been entrusted to complete the projects. Out of the estimated budget of Rs 574.10 crore, the state government has sanctioned Rs 383.01 crore. And, there is a provision of the third party inspection to ensure quality work of projects being undertaken for the Kumbh.

The Kumbh mela would be commencing from January 14, 2013. The first Shahi Snan would take place on Makar Sankranti. Similarly snans would take place on Paush Poornima (January 27, 2013), Mauni Amavasvya (February 10, 2013), Basant Panchami (February 15, 2013), Maghi Poornima (February 25, 2013) and Mahashivratri (March 10, 2013).

And, this Mahakumbh, the UP Pollution Control Board has too identified as many as 600 units and these units have been asked to activate their STPs or they would either shut down or their discharges would not be allowed to enter in river Ganga.

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