High-level meeting to be held in Lucknow today

A high-level meeting to review preparations for the Maha Kumbh Mela 2012-13 will be held in Lucknow on Thursday.

The meeting, which will be chaired by Chief Secretary Javed Usmani, will see all major officials and authorities concerned with the mela assembled in the State capital.

This comes two days after District Magistrate Anil Kumar warned authorities here to prevent any malfunctions in the construction work for the mela or face FIRs.

Around 100 million people are estimated to attend the 55-day event, which will begin on January 14. Keeping in mind the potential threat to environment, authorities say they are working for an eco-friendly mela. They have abolished the system of deep trenched latrines and replaced it with fully covered toilets approved by the Participatory Rural Appraisal India to prevent pollution of the Ganga.

Also, after a recent Allahabad High Court directive to the State government, polythene will be banned from the mela premises. The authorities have also said that five sewage treatment plants and seven sewage pumping stations would be set up.

The Pollution Control Board has asked 600 units to activate their sewage treatment plants or face the risk of shutting down. According to Divisional Commissioner Devesh Chaturvedi, about 2,500 cusec of water would be released into the Ganga during the mela.

During his visit to the city last week, Swami Chidanand Saraswati of Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, the force behind the Clean Ganga campaign, said with GAP-II (Ganga Action Parivar), the focus would be kept on keeping the holy river clean before the mela. The organisation will also undertake a massive sapling plantation drive at the site under the “Kumbh Smriti Van” proposal.

Satellite imagery system, which was first used in the 2010 Haridwar Maha Kumbh Mela, will also be utilised to ascertain the exact head count of the pilgrims visiting the Sangam area. The total power consumption in the mela areas this time would be about 40 MVA. Also, 48 power sub-stations of 11/0.4 KV, 2x400 KVA would be built there, with the construction of six already under way.

The creation of a 700 km LT line has been proposed for the mela and is expected to be completed by September. According to officials, about Rs. 106.89 crore would be spent on the temporary works.