NEW DELHI: In a first, devotees congregating at the upcoming Kumbh Mela will get real-time updates on pollution levels and weather around Triveni Sangam at Prayagraj. The area in and around the Kumbh Mela will have an air quality mobile van and four automatic weather stations.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) initiative, which involves System of Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) and India Meteorological Department (IMD), is a first of its kind for such a large congregation in the country. “At present, the area doesn’t have any pollution monitoring system. The need was felt as lakhs of devotees congregate here for days. The van will display the Air Quality Index (AQI) and the dominant pollutants. It will collect data from the area and give a forecast for the next three days,” said Gopal Iyengar, scientist, MoES.
The Ardh Kumbh Mela will begin from January 14 and end on March 30. “The live weather stations will display the current weather and measure parameters such as temperature, wind speed, moisture, and rainfall,” he said, adding that these, along with the mobile van, will be inaugurated by next week.
Iyengar added that the ministry, along with IMD, already has a specialised forecast system in place for major events such as ‘Char Dham’ and Amarnath Yatra but there was none for the Kumbh so far.
“Even the ones in place were weather specific. For the first time we have included monitoring and displaying of pollution levels,” he said.
The SAFAR system provides location-specific information on air quality in near real-time and forecast for one to three days in advance, combined with early warning system on weather parameters in a few metropolitan cities.
Chhattisgarh govt renames Rajim Mela
The Rajim Kumbh Mela, which the BJP government started in 2005 declaring it as the fifth Kumbh of the country, will now be observed as Rajim Punni Mela, the Chhattisgarh government has said. The decision has evoked strong reaction from the BJP. “It’s an unfair move. We disapprove the decision. This will hamper religious tourism in the state,” said former religious trust and endowment minister Brijmohan Agrawal. The Congress government said that the Rajim Maghi Punni Mahotsav will be an annual event, like the Rajim Kumbh, and will be observed from February 19 to March 4. Rajim lies at the confluence of three rivers called Triveni Sangam.