Looks like the Uttar Pradesh police have learnt something from the Bollywood movies of the 70s and 80s, like Do Anjaane. In case you’ve snoozed through your childhood or have just been born, yesteryear films showed a recurring theme of children getting lost at the Kumbh Mela.
To finally counter this problem, this year the police will be using RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags for kids under 14 years of age in order to trace them easily, in case they get lost.
RFID uses electronic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects, or in this case, people. The RFID readers, which will be placed at certain points in the Kumbh Mela, send continuous radio waves of a particular frequency which intercepts the tags worn by children and easily identify them. They are generally used in toll collection, tracking of goods and identifying domesticated animals.
State Director General of Police (DGP) OP Singh told PTI on January 14:
“Kumbh is the biggest congregation in which over 12 crore people are expected to take part over the next 50 days. With a view to ensuring that children do not get lost, we will be using RFID tags on kids under 14 years attending the Kumbh.”
Collaborating with Vodafone, the Uttar Pradesh police has agreed to use 40,000 RFID tags. Along with the tags, 15 digital lost-and-found centres have been set up inside the mela’s zone, and they have been integrated with the district police and social media.
This is not the only form of technology being installed at the Kumbh Mela.
Singh also said that digital information boards have been set up with a public address system. For traffic management, the police will be using an integrated system and an intra-district route diversion, besides crowd analytics and an intelligent traffic management system. 20 major parking spots have also been equipped with cloakrooms, health kiosks and eateries to avoid the rush. Also, an automatic number plate recognition system is being used to detect vehicles by colour, licence plate and date-time combinations. Variable message display boards have also been put up for real-time information dissemination, warnings, traffic advice, route guidance and emergency messages.
About time, we say.