The ancient central area of the Nashik city has narrow roads and net of small lanes-bylanes. So it is very tricky to handle the ever increasing crowd during a Kumbh. People of Nashik have bitter memories of a stampede during 2003 Kumbh which had killed 35 people and left hundreds injured.
This time the administration, collectively led by young Collector and District Magistrate Deependra Singh Kushwah and Municipal Commissioner Praveen Gedam, Commissioner of Police (Nashik City) S Jagannathan, District Superintendant of Police (Nashik Rural) Sanjay Mohite, Mela Officer-in-cahrge Mahesh Patil under the able guidance from the Kumbh Minister Girish Mahajan, has shown considerable progress on micro planning front.
DIO Nashik, Dr Kiran Moghe informed the Organiser about the details of the preparations. The co-ordination meeting of all the related officers is being held on each Tuesday, which runs into hours, many a times in to late nights. The administration has used digital technology tools and along with Green Kumbh, this Kumbh might also be known as Digital Kumbh too. High tech mass communication systems are being placed and volunteers from general public are being trained. Municipal commissioner Pravin Gedam took keen interest in developing various digital tools like smartphone apps and many more, to inform the pilgrims and guide them about the routes and amenities created for them. The administration thinks this will help in maintaining smooth movements of crowd and will avoid any mishap.
There will be more than 450 high resolution HD CCTV cameras being mounted throughout the city of Nashik and 200 in the town of Tryambak. Railways have set up their own control room at the Nashik Road station. Each has been given marked tasks and the co-ordination is being done by collector Kushwah and Dy Collector Mahesh Patil, who is also Mela Officer-in-charge. A good quality public address system is in place throughout the city of Nashik and Tryambak, that will be handled by the police department to guide the pilgrims and also the citizens in case of a mishap. The police dept will guide the public through it, will show route maps and also will make visual announcements about missing persons and things through large video walls.
The administration had conducted cleaning drives with large public participation. Nashik witnessed cleaning drives on 21st and 28th May. Nashik and Tryambak witnessed a larger public participation of more than twenty thousand citizens on June 5 in cleaning drive. More than 370 tonnes of garbage was removed across the city.
There was one more cleaning and tree plantation drive planned under Green Kumbh concept on July 1. In that drive the stress will be on removing plastic garbage and each participant will plant a tree at a suitable place.
There is also a drive going on for registering the volunteers from the public to help the administration in various tasks. More than five thousand volunteers were already registered. This time the officials are classifying the volunteers according to their likings and they will be trained and handled by the respective departments. The volunteers will be given a particular spot and will not be allowed to roam free leaving their spot of duty. Each one will be given I-card. The people from administration and volunteers will be trained in batches by two American Forest Service officers, particularly in crowd management.
Under Green Kumbh drive, the citizens and pilgrims will be appealed to use cotton carry bags. For this exercise, the administration has collected over 20 thousand used up sarees though, an appeal through schools and with the help of some NGOs, converted them in to more than 10 lakh traditional cotton carry bags. The plan is to distribute them at the each entry point toll booth along with printed route map for pilgrims and instructions about various do’s and don’ts and how to conserve environment. The idea of cotton bags was pushed by Divisional Commissioner Eknath Dawale and he is monitoring the progress.
To strictly maintain the cleanliness, the people will be encouraged to use public toilets, five thousand of which are being erected throughout the city and also in Tryambak, some permanent and some temporary.
People will be encouraged to use dustbins to throw paper plates and glasses. Tea stall holders are being asked to avoid plastic cups. More than 6 thousand plants have been already planted throughout the city and particularly along the new widened and four-laned Nashik-Tryambak road.
(The writer is Mumbai based senior journalist)
(July 12, 2015 Page: 42-43)
‘Safe Pilgrimage & Smoother Movements on the Cards’
Sure it is a tricky issue to handle security and managing crowd of cores of people at a time that too in narrow lanes and bylanes of an ancient city like Nashik. But Nashik seems prepared under young officer in form of S Jagannathan as its Police Commissioner.
(July 12, 2015 Page: 42-43)