Even as the country is breaking its own record of highest new Coronavirus cases every successive day, thousands of devotees are reaching the Haridwar Kumbh Mela. In order to check on violators of Covid-19 rules, including face masks, Police authorities in Uttarakhand are relying on Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. According to an Indian Express report, police officials are using the AI and a set of static and mobile cameras to keep an eye on devotees violating the Covid-19 norms, including not wearing a face mask.
More than 350 such cameras have been placed by authorities at different holy spots in the procession area with about 100 specialised cameras that send an alert to police officials when it records a person not wearing a face mask. The installed cameras have also been enabled with an AI technology to send an alert when overcrowding is observed at crucial sites of the procession including Subhash ghat, Brahmakund, Malviya Dweep and Har-Ki-Pauri, which are also prone to stampede-like incidents.
The alert is then passed on from the control room area to the personnel deployed at the procession who not only levies the penalty on the violator for not wearing a face mask but also hands over a free mask to the person. Kumbh Mela IG Sanjay Gunjyal told the Indian Express that the AI-enabled cameras are proving effective in managing the procession. On April 2, over 1.5k violators were fined for not wearing face masks, and more than 350 of them had been identified with the help of cameras.
Mukesh Thakur, who has been deputed as Additional SP in charge of the Police Surveillance Control Room at Kumbh was quoted as saying that the AI-enabled cameras were proving hugely helpful in preventing the incidents of overcrowding. Thakur said that the cameras send an alert to police officials when people assembling at a spot increase beyond 75 percent of its capacity and police officials immediately restrict entry to the spot.
On an average, a total of 3 lakh devotees get assembled at various ghats of the procession however, the number will swell further on shahi snans, which are going to fall on April 12, 14, and 27. According to the information provided by the state government, more than 10,000 security personnel have been deployed at the Kumbh Mela to manage and supervise the devotees.