| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Forecasting and initiation
Forecasting of the number of visitors and infrastructure requirement was undertaken based on past records, socio-economic and demographic trends. It was estimated that the rise in pilgrim will be by 20%, the number of institutions participating by 30% over previous Kumbhs and number of vehicles on main bathing date can be upto 225,000.
Based on these projections, an area of 56 square km was demarcated for notification as the notified mela district. Accordingly, by May, 2012, the separate Mela district was notified and the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police were posted. Each of the 28 line departments had deputed their district level line organizational staff specifically responsible for preparations of Kumbh.
Apart from building the temporary structures, strengthening the infrastructure of Allahabad city which was the first touch point for most of the visitors to Kumbh was done. Planning for permanent infrastructure for the adjoining areas was carried out in May, 2011. The prime objective was to develop infrastructure that enables seamless movement in and out of the mela area and support the infrastructure and services required for the mela area.
The resource planning for the Mela notified area was also undertaken in March-April,2012 based on the projections. Subsequently, all necessary measures for procurement and fabrication of required material were taken before hand so that the same is available by October, 2012 when the actual building of infrastructure sill start with the monsoons receding and the flood plains being available.
The projects involving legacy and temporary infrastructure were then broken into activities and dates of completion of each activity were fixed as milestones. These milestones were fixed working backwards keeping in mind the last date of completion, which was 31st December,2012. These milestones acted as a measuring scale for performance of departments.
Post planning stage, was the critical phase where all our planning had to be put to implementation. The implementation of legacy infrastructure started in April, 2012. Post monsoon, the work of transforming flood plains of Ganges to a city was also started. Like any other project, challenges and unforeseen situations were faced. Information and Communication Technology based MIS were used for performance management and review at district, division and state level.
The service providers who would be the first point of contact with the pilgrims were getting trained so that their behavior is polite towards the pilgrims and they can guide them.
Finally all our efforts were put to litmus test when the mela kicked off in January,2012 with the first bathing date of Makar Sankranti. The actual management during the event involved day to day operations and problem solving. It was like civic management of the city having large population in a limited space. Each day was a new experience throwing up new problems which had to be managed there and then!
The key elements of operations included
i. Maintaining Relationship with the Akharas and other spiritual leaders/groups
ii. Maintaining supplies and services(power,water,food)
iii. Security and surveillance
iv. Crowd management
v. Traffic and transport management
vi. Health and sanitation
vii. Disaster Management
Special efforts were undertaken for the following six main bathing dates
i. Makar Sankranti 14.1.2013
ii. Paush Purnima 27.1.2013
iii. Mauni Amawasya 10.2.2013
iv. Vasant Panchami 15.2.2013
v. Maghi Purnima 25.2.2013
vi. Maha Shivratri 10.3.2013
Post Mela, the winding up of temporary city was undertaken between March and June,2013. The temporary infrastructure created was dismantled and reused; the site restoration done in order to bring the flood plains back to its serene self. The useable material so collected was redistributed across the state for public utilities.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The key stakeholders involved in the planning and implementation of the initiative were:
i. Government departments/agencies: There were 6 Central Government departments and 28 State Government departments who worked together with a single vision and mission– hosting the mela successfully.
ii. Religious/Spiritual/Social /Institutions: They were the most prominent stakeholders and included:
a. The Four peeths of Shankaracharyas, the most revered and respected religious leaders of our society.
b. 13 akharas representing various sects of Hinduism, having their own hierarchy and organizational structure. The Shahi Snaan or the Traditional bath is undertaken by the Akhadas and their followers on three auspicious bathing dates of Makar Sankranti(14th January), Mauni Amawasya(10th February) and Basant panchami (15th February). These also include the naked naga sadhus and are a major source of attraction during the Kumbh Mela.
c. More than 3000 other religious, social, charitable organizations which participated in the event.
iii. Not-for-profit Organizations: Voluntary organizations were encouraged and facilitated. They helped the administration in handling critical operations related to Lost-and-found camps, pilgrim guides, shelter homes, food, healthcare etc.
iv. Pilgrims: There were millions of pilgrims from across the world who attended the mela. The domestic pilgrims came from almost all the regions of the country. The Foreign visitors from more than 75 countries. They came with multiple objectives: Pilgrimage, Media coverage, travel writing, experiencing the congregation, research etc.
v. Informal Sector: This consisted of local vendors, craftsmen, boatmen for whom it was peak time for business. Large footfalls, even with modest expenditure resulted in phenomenal volume of business. There was a huge economic spinoff for them.
vi. Media: The event attracted a huge media attention across the globe. There were more than 2300 registrations of local, national and international media
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
6.1 Budgetary Support: The planning for the Kumbh was done by the Mela Administration and forwarded to the State Government. The Central Government provided Rs 1200 crores (or 200 million USD) assistance to the State Government. Out of this, around Rs 900 crores( or 150 USD) was utilized for development of permanent or legacy infrastructure of Allahabad city which was the first touch point for the pilgrims. The balance Rs 300 crores (50 USD) was utilized to develop infrastructure and provide services in the temporary city or Kumbh Nagari. Additional resources were also deployed by the Public Sector organizations like Railways, State Road Transport Corporation and the Central telecom agency (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) but these were recovered through revenues from the services provided).
6.2 Human Resource: The 56 square kilometer of Kumbh nagari was notified as separate district with independent District Magistrate deputed to manage. Separate and independent administrative structure for all the 28 departments associated with management was also put in place. Officers and subordinate staff were temporarily deputed from various units of the department across the state. These officials were reporting directly to the mela administration and accountable to this single authority. These notably included
i. More than 10000 police personnel from 200 different formations including the State police, State paramilitary and central paramilitary formations.
ii. 243 doctors and para medical staff from various State Government hospitals.
iii. 7000 outsourced sanitation and Solid Waste Management workers
iv. Power Engineers.
v. Public Works Department Engineers and workers to build road communication and maintain it.
vi. Engineers and workers for water supply and drainage services
6.3 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives were invited to fulfill the needs and fill the gaps related to management of mela. The corporates were invited for purely noncommercial assistance. Various aspects in which the CSR initiative was implemented successfully were:-
i. Zero discharge toilets in the mela area
ii. Ladies change rooms at bathing Ghats
iii. Lifesaving jackets on the boats.
iv. Drum lines to regulate the movement of various boats.
v. Purified drinking water outlets
vi. Hoardings and brochures displaying the mela layout
vii. Supply of Non Polythene bags.
6.4 The civil society groups were associated in managing the lost and found camps. These included the civil defense Organization, Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Smriti Samiti and the Bharat Sewa Dal. As many as 225,000 lost persons were reunited with their near and dear ones by the administration taking support of these organizations
6.5 The last mile service providers who were at the cutting edge of administration directly interacting with the pilgrims were given training on the behavioral aspects. The objective was to make them visitor-friendly and build their capacities so that they can guide the pilgrims. The service providers included Police, Home guards, Taxi drivers, Auto rickshaw drivers, Railway porters etc.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
i. Road Communication: A network of over 174 km of motorable roads built on steel plates (termed as checkered plate). These roads enabled swift movement of vehicular traffic and pedestrians across the Kumbh city. These roads were linked through18 Pontoon bridges built across the river Ganga for convenient transportation. The pontoons were to be kept secure from the random erosion of banks by the ever changing current of the rivers.
5 temporary bus stations for convenient transportation of pilgrims were developed and more than 5000 buses were engaged during the main bathing dates. Parking for around 2.25 lakh vehicles was organized in 99 parking places in the periphery of the core mela area.
ii. Health and Sanitation: Health of pilgrims was prime concern. Free of cost Safe drinking water was provided. More than 650 km of pipelines being fed were by 46 tube wells and 05 overhead tanks to provide 92 MLD of potable drinking water after treatment.
14 allopathic, 12 homeopathic and 11 Ayurvedic hospitals were developed having 375 beds manned round the clock by specialized medical and paramedic staff, supported by 123 ambulance and 4 river ambulances for prompt medical attention.
More than 30000 individual toilets, 3400 seated conventional public toilets and 630 seats of non-conventional zero discharge toilets were installed. The visitors were pleasantly surprised to witness that sanitation facilities were being kept clean 24x7 despite a very heavy utilization throughout the mela duration. The entire mela area was kept free from flies and mosquitoes for preventing spread of communicable diseases
iii. Safety and Security: More than 10,000 security personnel manning 30 police stations in the mela are providing security, safety, disaster management and crowd control Safe and secure 5.5 Km long temporary ghats, properly illuminated, were provided on the slopes of the banks.
iv. Power Supply: A network of around 900 km of power transmission lines providing power connections with more than 25000 street lights and a generator backup were developed. A 24 hour uninterrupted power supply was ensured. 65 generators were installed as power backup to face any contingencies. CFL bulbs were used for energy savings. The glitter and safety of the mela was a result of these measures.
v. Essential Supplies: 124 fair-price shops were providing food grains, sugar, milk and kerosene oil at reasonable prices to more than 100,000 families undertaking “kalpvaas” through ration cards and to around 3000 organizations based on permits.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
A Single line of command was set-up. Both aspects –administrative and financial were addressed. The funds sanctioned for projects were routed through the mela administration. The administrative setup was constituted by temporally deputing officials from other districts. The State Government thus notified that the Divisional Commissioner and Mela Adhikari shall have the powers to assess the performance of all officials working under the Mela administration. This made them accountable and work towards a single vision..
For monitoring, the strategy of benchmarking was implemented. The result benchmarking was through the concept of Third Party Inspections (TPI) and the process benchmarking was through the fixing and monitoring milestones.
The TPI system covered two aspects. Firstly, to technically verify the quality of material being used and processes being followed in civil works and secondly, the physical verification of progress reported by the agencies. Professionally competent, reputed and independent third party inspectors were assigned this job.
Departments were asked to set milestones in each projects related to Kumbh. The milestones were nothing but specific dates for completion of multiple activities that are involved in completion of any project. A simple but innovative net based Project Monitoring Information System (PMIS) was developed. This PMIS enabled real time reporting of progress on milestones of various projects without any paper/manual report handing. Exception reports were generated on projects where milestone were not being meet. These projects were the reviewed to pinpoint the bottlenecks and fix specific account ability. This innovative intervention helped the administration to undertake very focused, to the point reviews for timely completion of projects.
Regular review meetings were being held at State, Division, District level where monitoring based on completion of milestone was undertaken. The entire Kumbh city of 20 square kilometer was divided into 14 smaller administrative units termed as sectors. Once the mela started, a sector level review and monitoring system was put into place. Each sector was headed by a Sector Magistrate who was an officer of the level of Deputy Collector with all line departments represented. There was a review meeting of all Sector level Officers organized every day to identify and resolve critical issues. Thereafter, there was a review and monitoring meeting at the Mela Headquarter Office at 6 pm every day. The purpose of headquarter level meetings was to address the issues which have not been able to be resolved at the sector level.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
9.1 General election to the State legislature were held between Novemberr,2011 and March,2012. Work in the field could not start before April,2012 due to the Model Code of Conduct. The time lines for various milestones were reduced accordingly. Further, the works that were not vital for success of the Kumbh were either dropped or postponed.
9.2 The delayed monsoon of 2012 resulted even further reduced time span available for implementing projects of temporary infrastructure for the Kumbh Nagari. The administration undertook an exercise of re-prioritizing the projects. The projects that were required at the start of the event (i.e 14th January) were completed first followed by those which were required for the main bathing date of 10th February.
9.3 In the late evening of 10th February, while the bathing at Kumbh Mela was conducted seamlessly and successfully, there was an unfortunate stampede at the Allahabad railway station as the pilgrims were returning by trains. This resulted in deaths of 37 persons. Although this was a major setback, but the administration faced this challenge boldly. While the rescue and relief operations were handled swiftly, the administration took several steps to raise the morale of pilgrims and staff deployed on duty. These measures resulted in management of operations in the Kumbh Nagari continuing smoothly and glitch free.
9.4 The region witnessed very heavy rains and thunderstorms on 15th and 16th February. This resulted in waterlogging of lower regions of river bed and drenching of camps. Disaster mitigation measures were swiftly undertaken in a well-coordinated way to secure the camps and ensure that there are no casualties due to drowning or electrocution. The roads were repaired and 24 hour electricity supply was also maintained. These measures enabled restoring of normalcy within 2 days and resurgence of pilgrim crowds subsequently.