BHOPAL: Ujjain, one of the most ancient cities of India, is ready to welcome around two crore pilgrims from various parts of the country and abroad. It is claimed that Lord Krishna’s schooling was done in Ujjain. Kalidas, the world-famous Sanskrit poet, is said to have composed his famous poetry works in the city.
The month-long “Simhashta Kumbh” begins from April 22. Massive arrangements being made for the convenience of the devotees are being monitored directly by Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. Chauhan proposes to hold a cabinet meeting at Ujjain on the same day when lakhs and lakhs of pilgrims will start reaching the temple town.
A cabinet minister has been made in-charge for the Simhastha. The Minister has made Ujjain his headquarters. Arrangements for supply of drinking water, milk, food grains, fuel etc. for the lakhs of pilgrims likely to reach the place have already been made. Thousands of policemen have been deployed to maintain law and order.
Fifty kilowatts of power will be supplied free of cost to Akhadas and 30 kilowatts for saints-seers. Arrangements of bathing for over one crore devotees in the holy Kshipra River are in place. Outsider government employees on duty will be lodged in 126 buildings. 325 km long electricity lines have been laid in the Mela area. A ‘Charak Hospital’ has been established to deal with complicated medical case and handle emergency surgeries. Over 97,000 quintals of marigold flowers will be made available during Simhastha.
The state government claims that Simhastha 2016 has been made an amalgam of tradition and modernism. It is for the first time that several international seminars have been planned during the Simhastha.
State government has launched publicity at the global level to invite pilgrims to come to Ujjain. The offices of embassies in various countries are being use to propagate the message of the Kumbh. The government, through its publicity material, has been telling the world that spiritualism is the basis of sound mental and physical health. It is further said that quest for truth is the basis of all religion and Simhastha reiterates this message.
Large-scale arrangements for convenience of devotees have been made on 118 km long Panchkroshi Marg during Simhastha. All government departments have undertaken works jointly on the Panchkroshi Marg. The most important need of devotees on Panchkroshi Marg in the summer will be clean and chilled water. For this, arrangements for chilled water have been made at every one kilometre. Ujjain Zila Panchayat has arranged tents and durries in one lakh square feet area so that devotees can take rest in shadow during Yatra. Arrangements for stay of devotees during Yatra have also been made in schools and houses in the villages on the way. For women, 10 changing rooms have been made at every Padao. There would be separate changing rooms for males. Adequate first aid arrangements have also been made for Yatris.
About Rs. 3 crore has been spent on streetlights at Padao Sthals of Panchkroshi Yatra Marg. A big amount has been spent on the development of the Marg. About Rs. 9 crore has been spent on tubewell borings, construction of water tanks, pumping stations, platform for taking bath, hiring water tankers and on waters supply stands. Ten km long 11 KV lines have been laid covering PadaoSthals.
Plans ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ have been chalked out for contingencies. If lighting arrangements are disrupted, generators will start working. Emergency lights will be used if generators also fail. Solar energy arrangements will also be made. Similarly, drinking water will be supplied through tankers. Similar arrangements have also been made on other fronts.
There is however a vast difference between earlier Simhastha and this year’s Simhastha. In the earlier Simhastha, government role was limited to making arrangement. But this year the government itself has become an integral part of the event. Never in the past did the governments make special efforts for inviting pilgrims or holding seminars etc. The Constitution is clear. According to our Constitution the government should not patronise any particular religion. Despite this, the state government has almost made Simhastha an official event.