Kumbh Mela: Bandobast record goes digital

This year, the Kumbh Mela administration is all set to leave behind a database that could be of help for organising such events in the years ahead. The record of most of the arrangements, facilities and services being extended to the devotees and organisations participating in the mega fair this time is being digitally stored and will be made available online.

Mela administration officials said the reference material available from 2001 Kumbh and 2006 Ardh Kumbh helps them get a basic idea of how things were then. However, it does not give them detailed information on various facilities and services that were put in place.

"There is register called camping register in which various facilities extended to the devotees and organisations are listed. And then there are layout maps. But we have come across several cases where the information entered in the register does not match with the ground reality," said District Magistrate (Kumbh), Mani Prasad Mishra.

Mishra added that this has led to conflicting claims, particularly in connection with allotment of land in the mela area. There have been complaints about organisations getting facilities, even though they were not allotted land. Or vice-versa, where the land was allotted but the facilities were not provided. "The problem with us is that there is no certified records of what was exactly done, especially in connection with the allotment of land, in the last Kumbh and Ardh Kumbh melas. Therefore, we have decided that this time all allotments would be made online," said Mishra. He added this would help those organising the fair next time, which will be sometime in 2025, in having a clear idea on what was done in 2013.

Mishra admitted that lack of detailed information has forced the administration to continue with some of the officials, involved in the bandobast of 2001 and 2006. "We need to have such people on board, as they provide continuity. There has been some apprehension that they could be involved in manipulation. But we will ensure that this time they are not able to indulge in such activities," said Mishra.

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