India is once again gearing up for the biggest religious gathering on the planet, Kumbh mela. Various wings of the administration are working day and night to make the expirences of both the pilgrims and tourists who come to witness the religious spectacle, comfortable and smooth. And when all this is going on, how can the Indian railways which regarded as the nation’s lifeline, stay behind? Railways has come forward with a number of schemes and projects for the pilgrims.
The Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal recently announced of waving off the surcharge on railway tickets for the pilgrims to Kumbh mela. 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 this the Railway has announced 800 special trains, which will be in addition with regular trains that run on North Central route. The Railway has also commissioned 41 projects in across various stations of Prayagraj district, where the next Kumbh is scheduled to take place in January of next year.
The projects that will cost more than 700 crore include a skywalk connecting all footover bridges of Prayagraj Jn, Four big resting places for the pilgrims all the basic necessities including toilets, ticket counters, water booths and televisions; a Kumbh Seva mobile application that would keep the pilgrims update with latest developments, including other services such as allowing 15 days advanced booking of unreserved seats. The Railway is also planning to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) in a big way to assist the pilgrims.
Kumbh mela takes place in every three years alternatively at Prayagraj, Ujjain, Nasik and Haridwar. Among these, the Kumbh at Prayagraj is considered to be the most holiest.