Pilgrims in Haridwar have emotional attachment with the city. We want to deliver the best possible services to devotees in the Maha Kumbh. It will boost State tourism as well, says Madan Kaushik, Minister for Urban Development, Housing, Rajiv Gandhi Urban Housing, Census, Restructuring and Election, Government of Uttarakhand, in an exclusive interview with Souvik Goswami of Elets News Network (ENN).
What preparations are being made ahead of the Maha Kumbh 2021?
I feel fortunate to have been a part of the team which organised the Maha Kumbh in 2010. The preparations invited all round praise in the country. During the day of “Mukhya Snan” (the main day for the holy dip) in Ganges, more than 1.75 crore devotees participated. Now, we have already started working on the preparations for Maha Kumbh 2021. We have to complete preparations in next three years.
The city administration is already chalking out various plans for the same. The facilities will also serve the city in the longer run especially the ones created for the city’s beautification, security and surveillance. Hon’ble Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat is already taking interest in every part of the preparation.
All the Cabinet Ministers will start ‘Chalo Haridwar 2021’ a campaign soon. Our Government and officers are committed to deliver best services in Maha Kumbh. Other Kumbh cities like Ujjain, Nashik and Allahabad are realising the state-of-the-art technology everyday.
How do you plan to utilise the digital innovations for Haridwar Maha Kumbh?
Allahabad, Ujjain and Nashik are quite different from Haridwar. Allahabad’s Maha Kumbh area is spread over an area of around 25 km and the main city is mostly unaffected by the Kumbh preparations. In Nashik, “Bairagis” and “Sanyasis” are different from each other. Ujjain has created a robust Kumbh infrastructure this year. In terms of the vast number of devotees coming, Haridwar is next to Allahabad. We need to focus on crowd management also. We have decided to implement best global technology practises in this Maha Kumbh. We have already convened a meeting with senior police officials regarding it. We will also hold a meeting with the experts who have conducted Kumbh Melas in the past. The Innovation Summit Haridwar is also one of our initiatives to explore new things regarding the Maha Kumbh.
What message you wish to convey to the industry for being a part of Haridwar Maha Kumbh?
Pilgrims coming here are attached to Haridwar emotionally. Generally, priests announce the period of every Maha Kumbh. We want to give the best possible services to devotees in the Maha Kumbh. It will boost the tourism in the State also. We are going to make preparations on a large scale.
We want devotees to travel less by foot. We want to arrange their holy dip in least amount of time, we want to give them better accommodation. We want to monitor the security of the Kumbh through remote control, etc. These are the challenges and opportunities for us. We want this event to bring laurels and be a moment of proud for Uttarakhand.
Do you view Maha Kumbh 2021 as a big opportunity for Uttarakhand?
There may be challenges for Maha Kumbh right now but these challenges will become opportunity for us in the long run. There are more than 3.5 crore tourists visiting Uttarakhand annually. We don’t even count the tourists who are coming to Haridwar. More than 8 crore people come to Haridwar every year. Maha Kumbh is a big opportunity for us and we will try to make the most of it.