Railways readies 41 projects at Rs 700 crore cost for Kumbh Mela
Railways has commissioned 41 projects at a cost of Rs 700 crore for the Kumbh Mela that will begin in Allahabad from January next year, a senior official of the national transporter said Wednesday.
Out of these, 29 projects have already been completed and the rest are in an advanced stage and will be completed shortly. “Four big enclosures to house about 10,000 pilgrims have been constructed at the Allahabad Jn. Railway Station. These enclosures will have vending stalls, water booths, ticket counters, LCD TVs, CCTVs and separate toilets blocks for women and men. Similar passenger enclosures are also built at other stations,” said North Central Railway (NCR) General Manager Rajeev Choudhury at a press briefing.
About 800 special trains are proposed to be run during the Kumbh Mela from various stations of Allahabad district for the pilgrims coming to the Kumbh Mela. These trains will be in addition to the regular ones that are run by NCR.
The railways has planned to operate four to five special trains for transporting 5,000 ‘Pravasi Bhartiyas’ from Allahabad to New Delhi, who will go to Varanasi to participate in the ‘Pravasi Bhartiya Divas’, and will go to Allahabad from Varanasi to participate in the Kumbh Mela.
The railways will use technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), in a big way to tackle the massive rush of passengers to this holy city during the mela, Choudhury said.
While IBM will provide video analytics service using artificial intelligence for crowd control, there will be a large number of powerful CCTV cameras to monitor the situation and LED screens for displaying information, he said. As a special case, it has been decided by the Ministry of Railways to allow 15 days’ advance booking of unreserved railway tickets from 11 stations lying in the Allahabad region and serving the Kumbh Mela. The stations from which this advance booking of unreserved tickets will be allowed are -- Allahabad Junction, Allahabad City, Naini, Subedarganj, Prayag, Prayag Ghat, Daraganj, Phaphamau, Jhunsi, Vindhyachal, Allahabad Chheoki and back.
The railways is preparing to handle around 33-35 lakh pilgrims to Allahabad during the six days of the holy bath during the mela. Choudhury said that the national transporter has also initiated branding of the Kumbh Mela, by means of vinyl wrapping which will have colourful and attractive images of the Kumbh Mela and landmark structures of Allahabad in coaches of special trains as well as the originating trains of the NCR, in order to take the message of the fair across the country.
The railways has given spaces at its stations and residential colonies for ‘Paint My City’ initiative which is another big branding exercise for the Kumbh Mela, he said.
“To promote local culture, North Central Zone Cultural Centre (NCZCC), under the Ministry of Culture, central government, will be co-opted to put up stalls in passenger enclosures showcasing the art/culture/heritage of Allahabad and surrounding areas,” he said. North Central Railway, Allahabad, has also launched a mobile application titled ‘Rail Kumbh Seva Mobile App’.
This app will help in providing critical and valuable information to the devotees, tourists and other passengers who will be visiting the Allahabad during the mela period. The app is intended to place all this information on the fingertips of the users making it convenient for them to access this information at any time and place. “The passengers using this app will not only know their current location, but also will be able to navigate to all the railway stations, mela zone, important hotels, bus stands among others within the city. It will also provide valuable information about the passenger amenities that are available at the stations,” he said.
In addition, it will provide valuable information regarding all the ‘mela special’ trains that will be run during the period from all the stations of Allahabad (NCR, NR, NER). It will have a link to book both the unreserved and the reserved tickets and a link to the app developed by the civil administration of Allahabad.