With less than two months to go for the Ardh Kumbh Mela, the Indian Railways has started taking major steps to ensure that things run smoothly in terms of passenger safety and conveniences for the entirety of the festival.
What’s the buzz?
For the first time ever, Indian Railways is going to introduce the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for crowd management during the upcoming Kumbh Mela. Indian Railways will be using the IBM Intelligent Video Analytics for this purpose, which will make sure that that the massive crowd during the tenure of Kumbh Mela is controlled properly at the Allahabad railway station and its adjoining areas.
While the said technology by IBM will provide video analytics service using AI for crowd control, a lot of new and powerful CCTV cameras will also be installed at several places in and around the railway station for monitoring the situation. According to a media report, North Central Railway General Manager Rajeev Choudhury said that the action plan has already been finalised and that LED screens will also be installed for displaying information. In addition to this, he said that social media will be used heavily in order to keep pilgrims and travellers updated on a real-time basis. Also, Indian Railways will launch a mobile app called Kumbh Rail Seva, which will provide useful information to both train passengers and all others who are travelling to the Kumbh Mela.
What should you know?
First things first, in order to manage the massive rush during the Kumbh Mela, Indian Railways is planning to deploy as many as 800 special trains for the pilgrims and travellers alike. Apart from the technology bit, in order to manage the increased number of passenger movement during the Kumbh Mela, the Indian Railways will deploy more than 5,000 Government Railway Police (GRP) and Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel in 10 railway station across Allahabad, Prayag, Prayag Ghat, Jhunsi, Naini, Cheoki and Allahabad city. Apart from this, Indian Railways is working closely with the state administration in order to ensure smooth movement of passengers—among the infrastructure projects that are underway, new skywalks, a foot over bridge and a new platform are a few things that have been confirmed.
The Kumbh Mela of 2019 is scheduled to start on January 15 and will conclude on March 4. One of the biggest religious events not just in India but the world, this year, the number of devotees is expected to reach a figure of 100 million plus.
What’s our take?
The introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for crowd management is a great initiative on the part of Indian Railways. While we need to wait and watch how this technology helps in the real world, in a country with a population as vast as India and with Kumbh Mela being a congregation of massive proportions, physical intervention of official personnel is required for the management of the crowd. In addition to that, there should be a planned waste management system in place in order to ensure that pollution levels don’t increase.