The Madhya Pradesh government will tie up with Reliance Jio, the telecom arm of Reliance Industries Ltd, to ensure online crowd management during Simhastha (Kumbh fair) 2016 in Ujjain.
The Kumbh is a mass religious gathering held every three years on the banks of holy rivers at four locations – Allahabad, Nasik, Ujjain and Haridwar.
The state government expects nearly 5 crore devotees to visit Ujjain over a one-month period to take a dip in the holy Kshipra during the mega fair that will be held from April 22 to May 21, 2016.
“We will install about 450 cameras at different locations across the temple town for crowd management during the Simhastha. Online monitoring in real-time would be done from a data centre at the police control room,” a Reliance official told HT.
The company will be signing an MoU with the government in this regard in the coming days. Reliance Jio, which plans to launch 4G services from December, has already laid optic fibre cable network in Ujjain for the purpose.
The administration will make use of a slew of technologies to ensure that things go smoothly during the mega event. “Apart from online crowd management, we will make use of a khoya-paya (lost and found) website to track any missing children during the fair,” Ujjain superintendent of police Manohar Singh Verma said.
The entire area of the fair will be Wi-Fi enabled and helpline booths will be set up at regular intervals for easy access.
The administration is working to make sure no untoward incident occurs on the auspicious dates during the Simhastha, when pilgrims prefer to take the holy dip and the crowds often become unmanageable.
“We are trying to draw lessons from Simhastha 2004, when the number of people visiting Ujjain broke all records. Crowd management is the number-one priority and we have to ensure that new technologies such as digital maps are used to our best advantage,” said an administrative official requesting anonymity.
In 2004, lakhs of people were stopped at satellite towns near Ujjain and even trains were stopped on the outskirts of Ujjain to filter the flood of people streaming into the city. However, this blocking had led to a number of huge altercations breaking out with officials on duty at almost all the barricades.
Apart from domestic pilgrims and sadhus, Ujjain Simhastha attracts nationals from all over the world, including Europe, USA, Israel, China and Japan.