The Melas, held at Allahabad in the month of Magha (eleventh month of the Samvat calendar, January-February), are graded in the order of religious significance (consequently, impacting the number of people visiting Melas at Allahabad) based on periodicity. Maha Kumbh Mela is held every 144 years, Puma Kumbh Mela every twelve years, Ardh Kumbh Mela every six years and Magh Mela every year on the banks of the river Ganga and its tributary Yamuna. Maha Kumbh Mela was organised in Allahabad from 14 January 2013 to 10 March 2013. For the organisation of Maha Kumbh Mela, various Government departments and agencies were engaged. The performance audit of Maha Kumbh Mela revealed deficiencies in planning, infrastructure arrangements, crowd management, monitoring, etc.
We observed the absence of synergies, coordination and synchronisation among multiple agencies. There was a lack of coordination in monitoring and real-time response mechanisms for the projects executed and delivered by multiple executing agencies. No scientific criterion/method was adopted for assessing the number of pilgrims/visitors during Maha Kumbh Mela. No specific arrangements for differently-abled persons and their safety and security were put in place during Maha Kumbh Mela. Labour welfare was also not ensured. Instead of effecting correctives and lessons learnt from past Melas-Kumbh Mela, Ardh Kumbh Mela etc., the same/similar mistakes persisted.
It is recommended that a well thought out plan with a Detailed Project Report (DPR) containing an assessment of required infrastructure, facilities and services for the Mela is prepared. Against the released amount of Rs 1,152.20 crore, Rs 1,017.37 crore was spent, leaving RS 134.83 crore unspent. The State Government, instead of releasing the special grant of Rs 800 crore for MKM works received from Gol, utilised the same for recouping the expenditure incurred by the State Government as its share for Maha Kumbh Mela. Consequently, the GoF’s share for Maha Kumbh Mela became RS 1,141.63 crore (99 per cent), and the State Government’s share was reduced to only Rs 10.57 crore (one per cent). Funds were sanctioned in multiple tranches with different routing patterns, which made capturing the holistic picture of Maha Kumbh Mela funds difficult, with no nodal authority in place for monitoring the finances of Mela.