Kumbh Mela: Pick and drop facility for elderly in Allahabad



Allahabad: Elderly persons in the city wishing to take a holy dip in the Sangam during the Kumbh Mela can now get a pick and drop facility besides assistance in bathing and offering prayers due to an initiative taken by the Uttar Pradesh police.

The state police have decided to utilise the services of Home Guards to help elderly people desirous of taking a holy dip in the Sangam.

"Our volunteers will be rendering their services for elderly pilgrims living in the city who may be yearning for the spiritual experience that a holy dip brings, but may not be able to reach the confluence on their own.

"They can call up our office set up at the Kumbh ground and our people will pick them up from any place of their choice, help them bathe and doing prayers and drop them back", Additional Director General of Police (Home Guards), Pramod Kumar Tiwari said here.

He said, "We propose to extend the facility even to pilgrims from outside the city.We are going to deploy our jawans at places like bus depots and railway stations who will help those who may be facing difficulties in being on their own due to old age".

He, however, said, "This facility may not be available on the main bathing festivals like Mauni Amavasya and Basant Panchmi when our volunteers may be required to render their services at Kumbh ground in view of the unusually high turn-out of devotees witnessed on these days.

Nevertheless, having a holy dip on any other day during the Kumbh is also considered auspicious and we hope that many people will benefit from this endeavour".

The senior IPS officer lauded the services rendered by volunteers of Home Guards "which came into existence as a second line of defence, the need for which was first felt during the Indo-China war of 1962".

"Over the years, Home Guards have become a crucial component of our security apparatus.They had rendered their services during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.The sanctioned strength of Home Guards in Uttar Pradesh is 1.18 lakh.At present, 60,000 Home Guards volunteers are assisting the Uttar Pradesh police in carrying out a number of tasks", Tiwari said.

"At Kumbh alone, 4500 Home Guards have been pressed into service. These include 200 women. They are assisting the police in maintaining law and order, managing traffic, fire-fighting and a number of other functions. We have decided to give due recognition to their efforts. Their daily stipend has been raised to Rs 230 from Rs 170.

"The stipend for Home Guards posted in Allahabad, but outside Kumbh, has been similarly hiked to Rs 200 from Rs 160", the ADG added.

"Besides, all Home Guards on Kumbh duty will be given a special daily allowance of Rs 60 during the congregation.Care is being taken to ensure that they get proper food and lodging facilities", Tiwari said.

PTI