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Kumbh Mela 2019: Railways gears up with 800 special trains, reduced fares and massive projects to handle pilgrim surge

To supplement the Railways infrastructure facilities for the pilgrims visiting the Kumbh Mela commencing in Allahabad from January 2019, 41 projects costing more than Rs 700 crore has been commissioned so far.

Keeping the Kumbh Mela of 2019 in mind, the Indian Railways has brought in a number of measures. Railway minister Prush Goyal had announced recently that the fare surcharge will be waived off for pilgrims traveling to Kumbh and even other such religious Melas. After this decision, pilgrims will be able to travel for as low as Rs 5.

“In view of the religious beliefs of pilgrims and for promoting tourism, the central government has decided to abolish the fair surcharge being imposed by the Railways, which will provide relief to passengers coming to Kumbh and other such fairs,” Goyal said.

Sleeper coaches in regular mails and express trains would cost Rs 10 per seat while fares for AC chair car and AC third class will begin at Rs 20. Second AC or AC 2-tier (2A) train tickets will cost Rs 30 and for first class AC the tickets will be available at just Rs 40.

Along with minimising the fair, the Indian Railway has further proposed to run 800 special trains during the Kumbh Mela from various stations of Allahabad district for the pilgrims coming to the Kumbh Mela. These will be in addition to the to the regular ones that are run by the North Central Railway (NCR).

To make the Railways infrastructure facilities convenient for the pilgrims visiting the Kumbh Mela, commencing in Allahabad from January 2019, 41 projects costing more than Rs 700 crore has been commissioned so far.

Out of these, 29 projects have already been completed and the rest are in an advanced stage and will be completed shortly, a senior Railways official has said on Wednesday.

From CCTV to Skywalk, special trains to extra ticket counters, the Indian Railways is relentlessly working to make people’s journey comfortable.

Below are few of the several endeavors the Indian Railways have planned to ensure the comfort and security of the pilgrims and tourists coming to Prayagraj to participate in the Kumbh Mela 2019:

  • Four big enclosures with vending stalls, water booths, ticket counters, TVs, toilet blocks, and CCTV which would house about 10,000 pilgrims have been constructed at Allahabad Jn. Similar passenger enclosures are also built at other stations.
  • A skywalk connecting to main Foot Over Bridge’s (FOB) at Allahabad Jn. has been completed.
  • The Ministry of Railways has decided to allow 15 days advance booking of unreserved railway tickets from 11 stations lying in the Prayagraj region. The stations from which this advance booking of unreserved tickets will be allowed are Allahabad Junction, Allahabad City, Naini, Subedarganj, Prayag, Prayag Ghat, Daraganj, Phaphamau, Jhunsi, Vindhyachal, Allahabad Chheoki and back.
  • North Central Railway, Prayagraj, has launched a mobile application titled ‘Rail Kumbh Seva Mobile App’. This app will help in providing important information to the pilgrims and other passengers planning to visit Prayagraj during the Mela.
  • Hand Held Terminals are being provided to the ticket checking staff. These terminals will help the railway staff to distribute tickets to passengers in the Kumbh Mela area.
  • The railways will use artificial intelligence (AI), in a big way to tackle the massive rush of passengers to this holy city during the Mela.

The Kumbh Mela is believed to be the largest religious gathering on earth and alternates between Nasik, Allahabad, Ujjain, and Haridwar every three years.

The one held in Allahabad comes in every 12 years. This holy event celebrated on the banks of the ‘Sangam’, the confluence of the three holy rivers, namely, Ganga, Yumana and Saraswati, is the largest and considered the holiest of them all.

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