Infosys will develop software for managing the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and tourists expected to throng the 2016 Ujjain Kumbh Mela to be held on the banks of the Shipra river in Madhya Pradesh.
Vishal Sikka, the CEO of India's second largest IT services firm, unveiled Infosys’ plans to develop the software during a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday.
Sikka said Infosys teams have already started brainstorming on solutions for the software. “Ujjain is very close to where I was born. I was born in Shajapur in Madhya Pradesh and we will be very happy to do that,” he said.
“We have been thinking about how we will do this, to make the software for the Kumbh Mela, clean toilets.”
Sikka said his company will look at offering software for participants and organizers of the Kumbh Mela, the world's largest religious gathering during which Hindu pilgrims gather to bathe in a holy river. It is held every third year at Haridwar, Allahabad, Nasik and Ujjain by rotation. The next Kumbh Mela will be held at Ujjain in 2016.
"Clean toilets is one of (the initiatives) as lakhs of people will be using them, things like self-cleaning toilets, water free urinals etc," Sikka said.
Sikka also said Infosys will spend $250 million (more than Rs 1,500 crore) of its $500 million Innovation Fund to boost innovations in software and services. He discussed with Modi ways in which Infosys can participate in the Prime Minister's vision of building a smart and digitally empowered India.
Madhya Pradesh urban development minister Kailash Vijayvargiya welcomed Infosys’ decision and said the state government will invite IT experts and companies to help in the management of the Ujjain Kumbh Mela, which is also popularly known as Simhastha.
“We have already written to IT companies, including Infosys, to seek their advice and help,” Vijayvargiya told HT. Vijayvargiya, who was in-charge of the Kumbh Mela in 2004, said a major problem was managing the stay and movement of pilgrims coming from across the country.
“We will have a master control room linked with control rooms in the entire mela area, which will be divided into several zones, and keep a watch on the movement of pilgrims and regulate their movement,” he said.
During the Kumbh Mela, pilgrims take a dip in Shipra river at an auspicious time on particular days. The next Simhastha will be held between April 22 and May 21, 2016. The state government has chalked out a Rs 1,423-crore action plan for the mela, which is expected to attract about five crore pilgrims.
(With PTI inputs)