“FEARING” that the state government would fail to make proper arrangements for pilgrims, Congress has asked its frontal organisation, Seva Dal, and adjoining district units, to appoint teams to help people arriving for Magh Mela, beginning on Tuesday in Allahabad.
“The way the state government is behaving, we fear that it would not be able to provide proper facilities to the pilgrims coming from different parts of the country… the government has so far failed to set up shelters along the roads for the poor to shield them from the cold,” state Congress resident Raj Babbar told The Indian Express.
He added: “Many of these pilgrims are poor… they need medical and other help.
Though Seva Dal had set up camps in the past melas as well, this time, we have asked them to strengthen their numbers with the help of the Allahabad party unit. Adjoining districts, too, have been asked to send volunteers and make adequate arrangements.” Asked why such special arrangements are being made this year, Babbar said: “Since the government has already curtailed many expenses meant for the poor, we fear it would also curtail facilities for them. The government has already started speaking about a shortage of funds… thus, our teams will be ready to help pilgrims in their time of need.”
Pramod Pandey, chief organiser of Uttar Pradesh Seva Dal, said that like every year, they have set up camp in the Mela area. “At present, there are 8 to 10 people, but we are going to increase the number of volunteers to about 40. On the days of special baths, around 200 volunteers will be appointed at different sites to help pilgrims on days like Mauni Amavasya and Purnima. We will also set up a medical facility.”
Targeting the state government for changing the name of ‘Ardha Kumbh’ to ‘Kumbh’, Pandey said Ardha Kumbh is scheduled next year and no government has the right to change its name, which has been a tradition for ages.
To make special arrangements and develop infrastructure facilities for Magh Mela, Kumbh or Maha Kumbh, the government had recently set up Prayagraj Mela Authority in Allahabad. The Bill in this regard was passed by the state Assembly recently.