Magh Mela 2024: High-tech security measures for pilgrim safety and crowd management

Ahead of the 54-day Magh Mela-2024, efforts have begun to put in place high-tech security arrangements for the safety of pilgrims and better management of the crowd. Considering the expected thousands of pilgrims and tourists who would be visiting Prayagraj for taking holy dip in Sangam and to ensure their safety, security and enhanced pilgrim experience, a robust technology enabled surveillance and crowd management system has been envisaged, inform Prayagraj Mela Authority officials.

For Representation Only (HT File Photo)

This system would act as a digital enabler for increasing situational awareness, safety, security, traffic management and data driven decision making for crowd management across Magh Mela area, they explained.

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As part of it, a web of CCTV-based surveillance and AI-based video analytics for crowd management system has been planned for the Magh Mela.

The Prayagraj Mela Authority has floated a Request for Proposal (RFP) document for selecting an implementing agency for the task. Interested agencies have till December 18 to upload their bids with a technical presentation scheduled for December 20 following which the financial bids would be opened, said Magh Mela officer in-charge Dayanand Prasad.

As part of the initiative a total of 125 cameras would be installed in the mela area including 52 outdoor box cameras of 4 mega pixels and 73 outdoor PTZ cameras of 4 mega pixels.

The officials said that CCTV cameras are crucial for monitoring and ensuring the security of the devotees and the event premises. “They would help in identify and prevent potential threats, criminal activities, or suspicious behavior,” they explained.

As for crowd surveillance, the officials said that Magh Mela often witnesses a significant influx of people, especially during the main bathing festivals. “CCTV cameras would assist the PRayagraj Mela Authority along with stakeholder departments for monitoring crowd movements, detecting overcrowding or congestion, and ensuring the smooth flow of visitors. In case of any untoward incidents, CCTV footage would also serve as valuable evidence for investigation purposes. It would also help in identifying the causes of accidents, disputes, or any other untoward incidents that may occur during the mela,” said a senior officil aware of the proceedings.

He said that Magh Mela often witnesses an increased vehicular and pedestrian traffic during peak days. “CCTV cameras would aid in monitoring traffic conditions, identifying traffic bottlenecks, and enabling authorities to take immediate action to alleviate congestion or manage traffic flow. Likewise, CCTV cameras would also act as a deterrent against anti-social activities, theft, or vandalism, ensuring the safety and well-being of the devotees and their belongings,” he added.

For the fair, a tent city is being set up across 750 hectares and all the new technology will act as a pilot project for Mahkumbh-2025, allowing officials the opportunity to test new initiatives and streamline crowd management efforts for the once-in-12-years fair of Mahakumbh-2025. The annual religious fair of Magh Mela-2024 held on the banks of the Sangam will be a 54-day affair this time. The Magh Mela-2024 will witness six main bathing days beginning with Makar Sankranti on January 15 and ending with Maha Shivaratri on March 8 due to which the security and surveillance set up would remain active in the mela area for a period of around two months.


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