Drones to track Chhath festival crowds at river banks in Patna

Elaborate arrangements are being made to ensure the safe and incident-free celebration of the State’s biggest festival

Updated - October 31, 2023 01:26 pm IST

Published - October 31, 2023 12:15 pm IST - Patna

Every year, tens of thousands of people congregate at the banks Ganga for Chhath Puja. File

Every year, tens of thousands of people congregate at the banks Ganga for Chhath Puja. File | Photo Credit: Ranjeet Kumar

The Patna district administration is all set to deploy drones to manage the four day-long mass gatherings for the annual Chhath festival by the river bank, which begins on November 17 this year. During the festival, devotees throng to rivers to offer prayers to the rising and setting sun. Managing the crowds during the festival is a difficult task for the district administration. In 2012, a stampede during the Chhath festival left 18 dead and over a dozen injured in Patna.

“As the flow of devotees increases significantly, elaborate arrangements are being made to ensure a safe and incident-free celebration. Different departments are working together to make the festival incident-free,” Patna Divisional Commissioner Kumar Ravi.

There are 108 big and small ghats in Patna where devotees throng to perform prayers to the setting and rising sun. However, some of the ghats are have been declared dangerous for devotees.

“Yes, drones will be used this time to keep track of the Chhathfestival on river banks for security purposes. CCTV cameras have been installed and police personnel will also be deputed along with members of puja committees and locals to maintain peace and security,” a senior district official said. “The Patna Municipal Corporation is working round the clock to keep the river banks clean and approachable for devotees. Some of the river banks may be declared dangerous to visit in Patna this year as well.”

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar customarily waves to the gathered devotees from a boat. Rescue teams keep an eye on the movement of people wading into the river.

Large numbers of migrant Biharis return home to participate in the festival. Devotees break their fast only after offering prayers to the rising Sun. Chhath is the biggest festival of Bihar and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, and is celebrated across communities. Airfares skyrocket and the Indian Railways runs special trains to ferry devotees. This year, the newly developed JP Gangapath track has been spruced up along with other ghats for the festival.

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