Ujjain : Police department has now started experimenting with crowd management plans for the Simhastha mela.
The Karkraj ghat at Kshipra banks has been chosen to test the strength of barricades and police plans to control the teeming crowd during the Simhastha mela. The police department is relying on old and tested manoeuvres of keeping the visitors busy by keeping them in zigzag lines. Crowd control barriers are being tested every day along with evasive manoeuvres, in case of emergency. At the same time city police have also taken up the work of surveying roads leading to Ramghat and other adjoining ghats of the Kshipra River to put up barricades for the ensuing Simhastha mela. Once the survey is completed, the police department will get the work of putting up barricades from the departments concerned. As of now, the survey of the Peshwayi and Nagar Pravesh, the route taken by the sadhus from the Neelganga locality to Kshipra ghats for the holy dip, is in final stages. Post the survey, the police would decide on areas where wooden and iron barricades are necessary.
The police would also take up the survey of the routes pilgrims would take to reach the Ghat areas after the work on Peshwayi route is completed. The Simhastha fair will commence on April 22 this year. The police are also conducting workshops for officers for crowd management and strategies needed to be followed for decongesting human as well as vehicle population, besides regularizing the crowd build-up and getting acquainted with different mechanisms and tools used to ensure that the crowd density does not reach a critical level, eventually leading to a stampede. Officials have also been trained in identifying vulnerable areas like bus stands, railway stations, camps, the Peshwayi route, and locating bottlenecks where the crowd density is likely to become more and how a crowd could turn into a mob. These officers will then pass on their knowledge to other officers and constables, who would be arriving for the bandobast during the maha religious congregation.
The other measures decided by the police include setting up closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) along the river banks and at the camps of sadhu-sanyasis, seeking more vehicles, weapons, wireless and the advance communication systems for smooth operation. Among other preparations, the police have also proposed various spots where pilgrims coming by private vehicles can park their vehicles. We have prepared a comprehensive plan for security and traffic management,” said Simhastha in-charge ASP Manish Khatri. “We have factored in what had happened in the past…we have extensively studied all the Kumbh Melas in recent history,” he said. The preparations are being done on large scale to accommodate each and every one, and that too with ease.