For the first time, about 500 students from various education institutions in Prayagraj will be trained as ‘Magh Mitra’ to help the government departments in crowd management, surveillance, rescue operation, and maintaining sanitation/ hygiene during the upcoming Magh Mela which begins next month.
Volunteers from the Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology (MNNIT), National Cadet Corps (NCC), National Service Scheme (NSS), and other private engineering colleges will be tasked with helping the government agencies.
The Magh Mitras will also be guiding the pilgrims and devotees with relevant information.
Divisional commissioner, Prayagraj, and chairman, Prayagraj Mela Authority, Vijay Vishwas Pant said, “This is the first of its kind initiative for Magh Mela where the administration is engaging young volunteers in such a large number to support them. This will not only help in better pilgrim experience but will also be a great exposure for these students. They will be engaged for a period of 45 days, beginning January 5.
“We will also offer an opportunity to Magh Mitra volunteers to work with the government administration and be part of the spiritual legacy of Prayagraj,” said Pant.
To equip them with all the relevant information a workshop will be organised where students/volunteers will be educated about the mela history and dynamics.
They will also be given “May I Help You” T-shirts for the identity purpose. Their services will be mainly sought for four areas — tourism, sanitation, security and planning,” he said.
For tourism, the volunteers will be deployed at the tourist spots to help facilitate beautification, temple restoration, preservation and making creative collateral for promoting Magh Mela.
For sanitation, Magh Mitra will help to maintain a strict eye on mela area cleanliness and safe disposal of all kinds of waste and keeping mela ODF free.
On the security front, Magh Mitra volunteers will help the law enforcement agencies in crowd management, surveillance, emergency rescue operations and traffic management.
Similarly, on the planning front, the volunteers will assist mela authorities in coordinating with all departments, managing documentation at the mela office as well as event management.
If successful, the initiative will be replicated during Kumbh Mela in 2025 on a larger scale, said officials.