Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has allocated Rs 4,236 crore for the Kumbh Mela 2019, an iconic Hindu festival that is celebrated every six years, being held in Prayagraj (also known as Allahabad), which is more than thrice the budget of the Maha Kumbh in 2013, according to a PTI report.
"The UP government has allocated Rs 4,236 crore for 2019 Kumbh Mela. The previous state government had spent around Rs 1,300 crore for the Maha Kumbh, which was held in 2013," state Finance Minister Rajesh Agarwal told the agency.
Of the Rs 4,236 crore, the Uttar Pradesh government is investing Rs 2,000 crore, and the central government has allocated Rs 2,200 crore, of which Rs 1,200 crores has already been released.
If you compare this budget with any other religious event organised in India, the Ardh-Kumbh mela's budget is the costliest ever.
Apart from this budgetary allocation, some other departments have also allocated funds for the mega event, the agency quoted the minister as saying.
Kumbh Mela 2019, which started on January 15 and will continue till March 4, is spread across 32 square km and is expected to host around 150 million people from across the world. It is the largest peaceful gathering of pilgrims who come together every three years in Haridwar, Prayagraj, Ujjain, and Nasik. The Kumbh Mela returns to each of these cities after every 12 years to mark the celebration of Hindu heritage.
The effort of the UP government has always been to enhance the facilities for the public and establishing facilities at the ground level has been a big task, the minister said.
From 247 km of streets inside the venue and parking capacity of 5.63 lakh to 1,22,500 toilets and 58 police outposts, the Mela ground is currently a world in itself. Moreover, 2,132 medical personnel and around 20,000 police officials, including home guards, PAC companies and central para-military forces have been deployed at the Kumbh Mela venue.
The BJP-led Yogi Adityanath government has renamed Ardh Kumbh as Kumbh and the Kumbh as Maha Kumbh.
The Kumbh Mela is expected to witness an attendance over 20 lakh devotees which includes ascetics, saints, sadhus, sadhvis, kalpvasis and pilgrims from all walks of life.
(Edited by Chitranjan Kumar)