Majority of works lagging, Chief Secy issues ultimatum
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The chief secretary issued the warning during a review meeting of Kumbh-related works with various departments here at Circuit House on Wednesday.
While the Kumbh Mela officially begins on January 14, 2013, the akharas have already entered the arena and all of them would have set up their bases around a week before the actual start. Earlier, various departments have missed several deadlines since September.
According to a district administration spokesperson, the chief secretary also directed the officials to put emphasis on making the city look prepared for the big event and have adequate and proper signages put up all across for the benefit of the devotees.
Two of the major works that should have been completed by now were construction of all the 18 pontoon bridges across Ganga and Yamuna in place. Out of these only eight have been completed. The Public Works Department officials assured the Chief Secretary that remaining 10 would be completed by November 25. Usmani directed the PWD chief engineer to get all the pontoon bridges completed before December 31 and carry out a joint inspection with the Inspector General of Police (Allahabad zone) to have a fair idea of where to station the troops on these bridges for keeping an eye on crowd movement.
Also, the PWD officials were directed to complete the laying down of checkered plates, which are essential for vehicle movement in the sand on the river bed, by December 31. Usmani was told that, out of 158 km of checkered plates that were to be laid down, only 68 km of checkered plates have been laid so far.
The work of electrification in the Mela area is also going at a slow speed.
The CS was told that only 35 out of 100 mini-high mast lights have been installed. The work of providing power supply in the tents and camps also remains to be completed.
UP requests VVIPs not to visit Allahabad during Shahi Snans
The Uttar Pradesh government has asked the VVIPs and other dignitaries of central government, other states and the governors to defer their programme to visit Allahabad on the days of six Shahi Snans during Kumbh Mela 2013.
In a radiogram message on Wednesday, the Protocol Department has stated that due to heavy rush of visitors expected during the Kumbh Mela, the state government has expressed its inability to provide accommodation, security or transport to VVIPs, VIPs and other dignitaries visiting Allahabad on January 14 (Makar Sankranti), January 27 (Paush Purnima), February 10 (Mauni Amavasya), February 15 (Basant Panchami), February 25 (Maghi Purnima) and March 10 (Mahashivratri).
"The state government provides security, boarding, transport with other administration staff to VVIPs and VIPs on their visits. If the security personnel and administrative staff are diverted for VVIPs during Shahi Snans, it could lead to problems in managing the heavy crowd of devotees," said an official. Minister of State for Protocol Abhishek Mishra said: "It is a general guideline. VVIPs have been advised to defer their programme to visit Allahabad on these particular dates to avoid inconvenience and dislocation."
Mishra, however, maintained that the government will provide complete protocol if VVIPs and VIPs visit Allahabad on these dates.
The message has been sent to Cabinet Secretary to Government of India, Registrar General of Supreme Court, all ADCs of governors, Registrar of all High Courts of other provinces of India and administrative heads of other states.