Gujarat Police are prepared as Ahmedabad gets ready for the 146th Rath Yatra, but this is the first time they have full technical support.
Anant University in Ahmedabad has collaborated closely with Gujarat Police to provide technical assistance for better managing the crowd and understanding the situation on the ground.
IANS interviewed Bhaskar Bhatt, Director of the School of Design, Anant University to understand the project better. He actively participated in the project and showed the first demo of 3D mapped Rath Yatra route of 22 km.
The LiDAR-based mapping will be the base for all layers of safety. VR and AR capacities will also be augmented in the coming days.
Regarding the collaboration between the university and Gujarat Police, Bhatt said: “In March 2023, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the university and Ahmedabad police. Gujarat state home minister Harsh Sanghavi himself signed this MoU. This is the first project under that MoU. Our forte lies in learning and experimenting with IR 4.0 technologies such as AI, AR and Analytics and we want to help the police force.
“The project is divided into two phases: First is, information mapping that helps police understand the land. Instead of doing it manually, we helped them to do it all with tech support. We used 125 drones to cover this land spanning 22 km-this gives us a three-dimensional understanding of this ground.”
For 35 days, Gujarat police and a total of 11 Anant University students and three professors mapped the terrain and constructed a comprehensive control room in preparation for D-day.
In the second phase of the project, the team looked at the challenges that can be overcome as well as how it feels to drive or walk along that path. 360-degree cameras were used for this.
From the 400-year-old Jagannath temple in Ahmedabad’s Jamalpur neighbourhood, Lord Jagannath, his brother Balbhadra, and sister Subhadra set out on the yearly yatra in their chariots.
The route for the yatra procession is generally Jamalpur Chakla-Vaishya Sabha-Gollimda-Astodia Chakla-Madangopal ni haveli-Raipur Chakla-Khadia Juni Gate-Khadia crossroads-Panchkuva-Kalupur circle-Kalupur bridge-Saraspur.
The idea was to create a control system that has a precise idea of what’s going on the ground. Comprehensive decision-making about what’s going on the ground is of utmost importance.
“We used highly specialised equipment to allow a police officer to make better decisions on the day of Rath yatra. We also designed special helmets to help cops on the ground. We will monitor everything on the final day. For example: when we monitor the speed of the rath yatra, we also identify when the density of the crowd is getting more than expected, we can then divert this crowd to reduce congestion,” he added.
This project was not undertaken considering the communally sensitive nature of Ahmedabad’s old city. The yatra moves from most Muslim-populated areas of the city.
“In the past two decades, there have hardly been any communal issues during Rath Yatra so this mapping is not for keeping communal harmony in check. This is for better bandobast. For example: if there are medical emergencies on the ground then how to manage it better through tech support,”he concluded.