The Kumbh Mela - the largest congregation of sadhus, saints and devotees attract millions of visitors from across the globe. It is an especially busy time, not only for the venue of that particular edition but also for the national transporter, Indian Railways. The upcoming Kumbh Mela in 2019 is likely to be no different. However, it is going to differ in one very significant factor - Indian Railways will not levy the mela surcharge anymore.
The mela surcharge was started by the Indian Railways to manage the additional cost incurred by the national transporter. The surcharge is levied during events like the Kumbh Mela; the Railways has to provide certain facilities such as additional booking counters, setting up pilgrim sheds, running of special trains and so on. This time around, however, the mela surcharge has been discontinued.
According to a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Minister of State of Railways, Rajen Gohain said that the Indian Railways is also rolling out additional facilities.
The Railways will establish extra infrastructure like direction-wise enclosures with additional Passenger Reservation System (PRS)/Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) counters, also at the Sangam area where the event will be held. Additional staff from other divisions of the Indian Railways will be deployed for guidance and to facilitate safe departure of devotees.
To help travellers further, the transporter will also operate special trains and put up signage and enquiry counters at all the mela locations, including Sangam area. There will be special announcements regarding information including train timings as well as a visual display system that will show all important locations in order to guide passengers.
CCTV cameras will also be put up to monitor passenger activity and security. There will also be a control tower that will be at work 24X7 and will be jointly manned by railways and civil authorities. These towers will also have hotline facilities.
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