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Magazine Web Edition > July/August/September 2013 > Voices: Kumbh Officials
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Voices: Kumbh Officials

PRAYAG

“Our Team is Fully Committed to Pilgrims”

THIS CENTRAL HOSPITAL HAS 100 beds. In addition, there are 14 more with 20 beds each set up in the different sectors. We have a staff of 150 doctors. There are 20 first-aid posts with paramedics and pharmacists, plus 100 ambulances. All operate around the clock. Here in the central hospital we attended to 1,580 patients yesterday. Throughout our system we treated 6,772 patients today, which is a normal number. To date (February 1), we have examined over 141,000 patients.

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Dr. Major B.P. Singh, Joint Director of the Kumbh Mela Medical Facilities
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Just one in a hundred has to be admitted or sent to a hospital in the city. We are operating well under our capacity. Here, for example, only 30 beds out of the hundred are occupied. Most patients are either very young or very old and suffering from asthma, cough and cold. There have been cases of heart attack and fractures, and two patients have died. I advise pilgrims to wear proper woolen clothes so as to not catch colds, and to keep a slightly wet piece of cloth covering their nose, especially for those with asthma. I am really grateful to the government for assigning this job to me. The government is paying me wages to earn punya (good merit) by working during this holy event. My team is fully dedicated and committed to provide the best services to the pilgrims who come to us with health problems.

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Srimahant Jageshwar Das Mahatyati at the Kumbh central hospital
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ALLAHABAD

“Ensuring a Safe Holy Dip”

I AM A MEMBER OF THE RIVER police and an expert swimmer. Our thousands of river police personnel are everywhere on the ghats, ensuring that the pilgrims have a safe holy dip. With the grace of God, everything is going well, and I have seen no instances of drowning. The water level has been kept low. This is a great opportunity for us to serve the pilgrims. I am feeling so blessed that I could have many holy dips during this Kumbh.

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Ram Asre Pandey
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ALLAHABAD

“Remarkable Faith Cannot Be Explained”

TO HAVE A BATH AT SANGAM, most pilgrims had to walk from one to fifteen kilometers. As they were leaving, we diverted them through a longer route, as we did not want a heavy rush at the railway station. We wanted them to get there in numbers that could be easily accommodated in the trains available there. So far we have been able to manage the whole affair smoothly, without any serious problems. [A few hours later, a stampede caused by mismanagement occurred at the crowded railway station and 35 people were killed.]

The fact that the mela area was spread over a vast space has been to our advantage, and that is the reason the roads are so broad. The wide roads ensure that even when tens of millions of people are there, we are not facing situations in which a stampede is likely to occur. The iron sheets on the road are bolted this year, a big improvement. This is the best we can do on the sand. In the past the steel plates were merely clamped; scores of people would get injured and go to the hospital.

This remarkable faith which the people of India have towards Ganga and a bath in this particular place cannot be explained in any rational and scientific way. People have faith that a holy dip will get them liberated. To have a holy dip, they are determined to come here regardless of cost. This is something most people in the world cannot imagine. The special place for faith has been there and will always remain. All my counterparts have similar experiences and feelings. I personally will have a dip once it is all over.

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Devesh Chaturvedi, Kumbh Mela Commissioner
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