AI, drone & special app to manage Rath Yatra crowd in Odisha

The footages from the cameras will be monitored live from two integrated control rooms.
Rath Yatra festival in Puri.
Rath Yatra festival in Puri. (Photo | PTI)

PURI: Crowd management poses one of the biggest challenges for police during Rath Yatra. In order to ensure the global festival and all rituals associated with it are conducted smoothly, Puri police have decided to go hi-tech this time.

At a meeting on the day, additional DGP Dayal Gangwar said police will use artificial intelligence (AI) based CCTV cameras which have already been installed at Badadanda, the venue of the festival and at other strategic places of the town to keep a watch on crowd. The footages from the cameras will be monitored live from two integrated control rooms. For the first time, all vehicles coming to Puri including two-wheelers will be counted. This will help the authorities take steps to prevent congestion and traffic snarls in the town.

This apart, a public announcement drone (PAD) will be flown over Puri-Bhubaneswar NH to inform devotees of black spots. Authorities have identified around 30 traffic black spots along Puri-Bhubaneswar, Puri-Brahmagiri and Puri-Konark highways. The drone weighing around 15 kg is equipped with a public announcement system and can fly 30 to 100 metre above the ground.

Besides, police have launched a WhatsApp Chatbot App to help devotees plan their routes. A QR scanner code has been released for the public which can be downloaded into any Android mobile phone. With the help of the App, one can get on-time information on traffic restrictions ahead, nearby parking places, hotels, drinking water fountains, toilets, presence of lifeguards along the beach and other such facilities.

Gangwar said traffic restrictions for the festival will be enforced from midnight of June 6. Police are expecting 100 to 150 tourist buses, 400-500 regular buses, and 190 special buses to arrive in the town from various parts of the state. Around two dozen additional parking places have been created near different entry points to the town. This apart, 50 platoons of police with 450 officers have been deployed for smooth flow of vehicular and pilgrim traffic. The traffic restrictions will remain in force till Sunabesha of the deities. Meanwhile, police conducted a mock drill for pulling of chariots at the reserve police ground. On July 7, only one chariot will be pulled for a short distance at about 5 pm and the pulling of the rest of the chariots will resume the next day. The drill was conducted under the supervision of director, Intelligence Soumendra Priyadarshi.

Gangwar said around 180 platoons of police will be deployed for President Droupadi Murmu’s visit to the town during the festival. The entire Badadanda has been divided into six zones for security purpose. Senior police officers will remain in-charge of each zone. Adequate number of police force will be posted inside the temple complex. There will be no public darshan during pahandi of deities inside the temple to ensure the rituals are conducted on time. Besides, three companies of Rapid Action Force, two companies of CRPF, eight SOG teams, bomb detection and disposal units and over 2,000 home guards will be deployed in the town, informed additional DGP (Law and Order) Sanjay Kumar.

Geared up

AI-based CCTVs to keep watch on crowd

Public announcement drones to be flown over

Puri-Bhubaneswar NH 50 platoons of police to streamline traffic in town

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The New Indian Express