Uttar Pradesh has drawn up an estimate of more than Rs 4,200 crore for the preparations around next year’s Kumbh Mela in Allahabad and has asked the central government to bear more than half the cost.
This will make the mega pilgrimage in 2019 the costliest ever. The last full Kumbh Mela in 2013 cost less than a third of the amount estimated for next year. “A shelf of projects worth Rs 4,236 crore has been readied for Kumbh. The UP government has already allotted Rs 2,000 crore for the same and the UP chief secretary has written to the central government asking for a grant of Rs 2,200 crore,” show the minutes of a review meeting held earlier this month and attended by the chief secretary.
Only about Rs1,300 crore were spent in 2013, with the then UPA government at the Centre pitching in with Rs1,017 crore.
Ardh Kumbh is held in every six years, while the Kumbh Mela comes after 12 years. The Yogi Adityanath government in UP has renamed Ardh Kumbh as Kumbh and the full Kumbh as Maha Kumbh.
The Kumbh from January to March is being pitched as the grandest ever with the ruling BJP at the Centre and in UP aiming to reap political gains from it ahead of the 2019 general elections.
For 2019 the Kumbh, the central government is working on inviting representatives from all 192 countries and people from all the six lakh villages in India, the minutes show. The Union tourism ministry is developing a designated area to hoist the flags of the 192 countries during Kumbh.