The Uttar Pradesh government has made extensive arrangements to host millions of people in the city of Prayagraj (earlier known as Allahabad) for the 2019 Kumbh Mela starting on January 15, a minister said here on Saturday.
Uttar Pradesh Finance Minister Rajesh Aggarwal told media here that an amount of Rs. 2,800 crore was earmarked for the Kumbh Mela.
"The state government is endeavouring to provide a devotional and spiritually charged atmosphere to pilgrims coming for the Kumbh. Over 5000 NRIs (non-resident Indians) and people from over six lakh villages of India will participate in the Kumbh," Aggarwal said.
"The state government earmarked an amount of Rs 2800 crore for Kumbh Mela 2019. Besides, development works of Rs 4300 crore is also being carried out. Works related to roads, bridges, drinking water schemes, electricity, tourism, and so on have been done," he added.
It will be the largest temporary city of the world, Aggarwal said.
The Mela area has over 1.22 lakh toilets, 250 km of new roads, 22 pontoon bridges and over 40,000 LED lights. The Ganga Pandal set up at the venue has a capacity of 10,000 people.
"Following the efforts by the state government and the cooperation extended by the Ministry of Defence, the devotees coming to the Kumbh will have an opportunity for the first time in the last 450 years to pray at 'Akshay Vat' and 'Sarasvati Koop'.
"Keeping this in view, the state government has beautified all the places directly or indirectly linked to the Kumbh," he said.
Aggarwal said that the state government is making efforts to realize the vision of making the Kumbh a representative of India's inclusive culture.
"The objective of this event is to make efforts to familiarise the world with the high quality life, conduct and thoughts of Indian culture," he said.
Ardh Kumbh is held every six years, while the Maha Kumbh Mela comes after 12 years. The Maha Kumbh is held at Prayagraj while Ardh Kumbh is organized on a rotational basis in the four riverside cities of Haridwar, Prayagraj, Nasik and Ujjain. Magh Mela is held every year.
Under the Kumbh related works, 671 people welfare projects have been completed during the last one and a half years under the Prayagraj Mela Authority.
"For smooth traffic movement, the state government has constructed nine flyovers in the last one and a half years. The Bridge Corporation has created a record by constructing a 4-lane wide and 1325 metre long flyover on a single pillar in 14 months in front of the High Court in Prayagraj city area," he said.
Ambassadors of around 71 countries have witnessed the preparations for this grand event, Aggarwal added.