‘Phase I of Kumbh works to be complete by November end’

Most of the phase-I preparation works like laying of roads, construction of ghats, setting up of power sub-stations and other basic facilities for Kumbh-2013 will be completed by November 30. The Kumbh Parv will begin from January 14 next year and continue till March 10.

Addressing mediapersons at the first formal press conference with respect to preparations for Kumbh-2013, Mela Officer Mani Prasad Mishra said: "Many of these works are in the advanced stage. Some works like laying of roads in the mela area will begin after the flood waters in Ganga and Yamuna recede. The works related to establishment of power sub-stations and upgradation of the existing transformers, among others, is also in the advance stage. After November 30, we will move quickly towards setting up the mela township with all the basic facilities and amenities."

Mishra said that funds were not a problem with the Government of India (GoI) granting untied funds of Rs 800 crore the preparations. Already, the UP government and the GoI have cleared around Rs 800 crore in the financial years 2011-12 and 2012-13 for Kumbh-related works.

Compared to 11 sectors in 2001, the mela area this time would have 14 sectors. The mela may be spread over a total of 5,911.89 acres, as compared to 2,802.184 acres in 2001.

However, Mishra clarified, not all of the 5,911 acres were going to be utilised. "It would be utilised if needed. But we have already made acquisitions so that we don't fall short at a later stage," he said. Nearly 20 to 25 per cent of the acquired space would be dedicated for parking of vehicles.

"Some of the issues have already been finalised and integrated in the final plan, while the possibilities in other areas are being explored," Mishra said.

Among some of the experiments being attempted by the mela administration this time are provision for CFL bulbs to be used during the festival so that the power requirement is reduced; streamlined planning of sectors; provision of adequate signage and use of satellite imagery to arrive at some data on the actual number of people present in the mela.

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