Maha Kumbh Haridwar 2010 began, 14 Jan 2010 amid huge religious fanfare and tight security and over 25 lakh people took a ‘snan’ (bath) in the Ganga on the occasion of ‘Makar Sankranti’ — known as Uttarayan in other parts of the country the day when the sun starts to move northwards marking the decline of winter. According to official sources, over Ten lakh people were there in the sacred city of Haridwar.
Those who visited Haridwar one year back will now be wondering to see the new face of the holy city. Wide, clean and pothole free roads, shining bathing ghats, new bridges and general cleanness. This change is visible even before we enter the city from Roorkee or Dehradun. “Haridwar witnessed the biggest ever developmental activities in the last three decades for this Kumbh beginning from January 14. It almost changed the face of the entire city,” a site picked out the views of a travel agent from the place while on the other hand during conversation with a friend of mine who was there during the holy bath expressed something different. Well, he was visiting Kumbh since years and according to him the administration thereat is far from satisfaction at least during the beginning of Kumbh. We will find it out ourselves during the 2nd Shahi Snan.
“Our endeavour is that no devotee visiting Haridwar during the Kumbh should face any difficulty” – said Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’. Only Rs 50 to 60 crore used to be spent for Kumbh preparations so far. But this time we have spent over Rs 550 crore. The permanent construction work is over and the work at temporary projects too is at the final stage,” said Uttarakhand Chief Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’.
According to the government estimates, more than six crore pilgrims are expected to have a dip in this Kumbh. The government has made adequate arrangements for them. Central Cabinet Secretary Shri Chandrasekhar recently visited Haridwar and expressed full satisfaction over the preparedness for Mela by the State government.
Apart from permanent construction, the government has also made some temporary arrangements. Temporary camps have been set-up for about 12 lakh saints, 40,000 officers and other staff members. During the 2004 Kumbh, more than 10 million devotees including saints, priests and yogis from all corners of India as well as the world, had participated.
The total Kumbh area is 130 square kilometres sprawling in Haridwar, Dehradun, Tehri and Pauri revenue districts. Entire Kumbh Mela area has been divided into 12 zones and 32 sectors. These sectors include Bahadrabad, Jwalapur, Ranipur, Kankhal, Daksheshwar Dweep, Sati Dweep, Bairagi Camp, Mayapur, Belwala, Gaurishankar, Chandi Devi, Neeldhara, Chila, Laljiwala, Rodi, Haridwar, Mansa Devi, Har Ki Pauri, Kangra Dweep, Pant Dweep, Bhim Gaura, Moti Chur, Bhopatwala, Sapt Sarowar, Raiwala, Shyampur, Rishikesh, Chandrabhaga, Muni ki Reti, Swargashram, Laxman Jhula and Neelkanth.
According to Organiser Mela Officer Shri Anand Vardhan – 31 police stations and 41 police chowkies have been established in the Mela area for maintenance of law and order. Thirty six fire stations have also been established to control any incident of fire. A Central Control Room (CCR) with all modern communication systems has been established for monitoring of devotees inflow to avoid any crowd pressure in the core area round the clock.
Thirty-four police stations and 42 makeshift posts have been set up besides the 36 temporary fire stations. Public announcement systems have been set up at every nook and corner of the city along with CCTV cameras zooming in on all activities in the mela.
A state-of-the-art central control room has been set up besides a grand media centre for hundreds of journalists who have thronged the city from across the country and abroad.
Hotels and lodges have put out shiny boards offering various schemes and discounts. What is been pushed as an added incentive by lodge managers is the “free veg onion free breakfast” offer to all who stay with them.
Men, women and children outnumbered the sadhus, who are expected to throng the city only after January 26 as the official entrance of the ‘akharas’ will begin then. Kumbh Mela 2010
The first ‘shahi snan’ or royal bath is scheduled for February 12 when the akhara chiefs also join the devotees.
According to Shri Anand Vardhan the medical preparedness has been taken-up on priority basis. A total of 4,700 beds have been notified in various hospitals including 1,360 in government hospitals within the Mela area, 400 in private hospitals, 677 in government hospitals out of Mela area and 2,303 in private hospitals out of the Mela area. Deployment of health staff includes 12 class one and senior medical officers, 264 general medical officers, 606 paramedical staff, 192 non-medical staff, 50 ambulances and 14 EMRI ambulances. On the medical front, Kumbh officials have earmarked about 4,700 beds including 1,360 in government hospitals inside the Mela area, 400 in private hospitals.
The health staff available round-the-clock includes about 12 senior medical officers, 264 general medical officers, 606 paramedics, 192 non-medical staff, 50 ambulances and 14 EMRI ambulances.
Precautions for Swine Flue
A training programme for medical and paramedical personnel to update their knowledge on Swine Flu has already been conducted as per the guidelines of the Union Health Ministry. Identification of Influenza Like Illness (ILI), suspects of swine flue for referral, investigations and management will be done as per the guidelines. SPS hospital, Rishikesh and Civil Hospital of Roorkie have been identified with ICU facilities.
The main and common reason for one to attend the Kumbh is to take dip in the Ganga. It is believed that a dip in the sacred river during the Kumbh takes one out of the circle of life and death. Pilgrims and sadhus in large number visit Haridwar to liberate themselves. There are four main bathing ghats in Haridwar including Har Ki Pauri, Asthi Parwah Ghat, Subhash Ghat and Gau Ghat. Rather it is difficult to count the number of bathing ghats at the Ganga from Rishikesh to Haridwar, as some people have made their own private ghats. The actual number of bathing ghats during this Kumbh will be more than 300. They include 117 ghats in Haridwar and around 200 in Rishikesh. About 80 lakh devotees will be able to have a dip in the Ganga on these ghats. The Mela administration has decided to grant at least 10 minutes to each devotee for the snan. Over 60,000 devotees will be able to have a bath only at the Har Ki Pauri at a time. Total length of the bathing ghats available in the Kumbh is 25 km. It is expected that about one crore devotees will have a bath in the Ganga on the Shahi Snan day i.e., April 14. Hence, the capacity of ghats has been increased accordingly.
One thing came into our notice though, the Hotels are charging much higher rates than expected, it can be anticipated that Hotels will make a hike in their tariffs due to Kumbh, but to what extent? Any ordinary Hotel demanding roughly 2000/- per day is not fair enough though its fair time. Isn’t it?
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