To offer a hassle-free devotional experience to millions of people set to throng Prayagraj next year for a holy dip in the Sangam during Kumbh Mela (January 15 – March 4), the administrative authorities are resolutely ensuring no stone remains unturned, writes Arpit Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN).
As part of the great endeavour, a large number of initiatives are being undertaken by the Government of Uttar Pradesh to make it a smooth and enjoyable experience for people of all ages and regions
Kumbh Mela – The Vision, The Initiatives
A number of special steps are being undertaken to make the upcoming Kumbh Mela a memorable experience for all. Some of the important initiatives that deserve a mention include:
To upgrade facilities at the Tent City, 4,200 premium tents are planned to be set up in the Mela area for tourists. These tents will be built and operated on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) basis.
With regard to public accommodation, a capacity of 20,000 beds is being developed. A massive development is being done for the first time for Kumbh Mela. These camps will have all the basic amenities and security arrangements.
To accommodate 10,000 people, a Ganga Pandal will be built around the Mela. It will be used for organising cultural, spiritual and official programmes. State-of-the-art facilities and arrangements will be ensured in this pandal. Four convention halls, with modern and contemporary decor, will be built in each zone. Cultural programmes, exhibitions and artistes’ gatherings will be organised in these halls. A Pravachan, or lecture hall will also be built in the Mela area for organising religious and spiritual programmes.
As part of ensuring ‘Swachh Kumbh’, 1,22,000 toilets will be set up. A robust ICT-based system will be deployed to monitor and ensure timely cleaning of these toilets. A proper onsite sludge management, cesspool operations, and odour management technologies will be deployed to keep Mela area clean and ensure an enhanced pilgrim experience.
In solid waste management, we are upgrading the Solid Waste Management Plant to a cetain capacity. To improve sanitation under our ‘Sundar Kumbh’ drive, more than 20,000 dustbins with liner bags are to be deployed for solid waste management. Over 11,000 sanitation workers will be employed for street sweeping and Solid Waste Management (SWM). In total, 40 compactors and 120 tippers will be used for the disposal of waste materials.
“We are also focusing on developing popular temples in Prayagraj. Under this initiative, strengthening and widening of approach roads to the temples is in progress. Augmentation of electricity systems in and around temples is also being done. For improving civil supplies during the Mela, ration cards will be provided to ensure access to civil supplies for over 10 lakh Kalpvaasis during the Mela period. Apart from these, permits will be issued for providing access to civil supplies for Akharas and religious organisations in the Mela area,” Vijay Kiran Anand, Kumbh Mela Adhikari, Prayagraj Kumbh told ENN.
Asked about steps being taken on enhancing facilities on the logistics-front, he said: “Logistics play a critical role in a city’s development and its economic growth. Taking note of this aspect, there is upgradation work currently underway of nine railway stations, development of nine Road Over Bridges (ROBs) and expansion of six Road Under Bridges (RUBs) is also underway.”
A new terminal is being constructed at the Allahabad Civil Airport. National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is rebuilding and upgrading Allahabad – Pratapgarh Highway, Raebareli – Allahabad Highway, Varanasi – Allahabad Highway.
The Inland Waterways Authority of India is building jetties at five places and planning to start point-to-point ferry services for pilgrims.
Key Infrastructural Projects
A number of ongoing infrastructure projects are currently in full swing. Some of the major ones include — Public Works Department (PWD) projects, Uttar Pradesh State Bridge Corporation (UPSBC) projects, Irrigation Department projects, Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam projects, Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited projects, and Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation projects.
Public Works Department (PWD) projects: With an allocated Budget of Rs 1,388.28 crore by the PWD, strengthening and widening of 116 roads across Prayagraj is in progress. Further, strengthening and widening of 34 roads across the whole city is being done by the Allahabad Development Authority. Under this, redesigning, refurbishing and beautification work is being carried out at 32 traffic junctions across the city. The budget allocated for these specific assignments is Rs 298.35 crore.
Uttar Pradesh State Bridge Corporation (UPSBC) projects: With an allocated budget of Rs 501.89 crore, UPSBC is constructing 10 road-over bridges (ROBs).
Irrigation Department projects: The development of Ghats or, the river banks at seven places and riverfront conservation work are also being carried out in full swing by the city’s Irrigation Department. Rs 47.61 crore budget has been allocated for it. Renovation work at multiple hospitals, development of new wards and purchase/upgradation of medical equipment is being done. A Rs 73 crore budget has been allocated for it.
Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam projects: Augmentation of water supply system and improvement of drainage and sewerage system is being done. A Rs 136.10 crore budget has been allocated for it.
Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited projects: Upgradation and strengthening of existing power infrastructure and electrical system is in progress. Rs 81 crore budget has been allocated for it.
Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation projects: Development works for bus depots and construction of passenger halls etc, are in progress. A Rs 7.11 crore budget has been allocated for it. A special endeavour is being made in terms of methodology to monitor various projects’ progress to ensure they adhere to quality norms. “We have put in place many IT-backed mechanisms to monitor projects’ progress. Under an ‘Online Project Monitoring System’ (PMIS), being managed through a portal, the PMIS portal has been designed where Program Evaluation Review Technique is adopted. Making use of this, the details of all the ongoing projects are monitored on a real-time basis,” Anand shared with ENN.
A third party inspection agency has also been contracted by the Mela Authority with 36 resident engineers deployed to inspect and report on all ongoing projects for quality monitoring, he added.