Jagannath Rath Yatra 2024: Odisha Police to use AI for traffic, crowd management in Puri | Bhubaneswar News

Applications of AI

PURI: The Odisha Police will be trialling AI technology for efficient traffic and crowd control during the Jagannath Rath Yatra on July 7. This will be the first time that AI-enabled CCTV and drone systems will be used to manage the event, known for large-scale congregations.

This year, police are aiming to deploy AI-integrated CCTV cameras and drones at around 40 locations to better manage the Rath Yatra, also known as the Chariot Festival. The technology will help in spotting blind spots and areas prone to traffic congestion. Dayal Gangwar, Deputy DGP, Odisha, explained the initiative: “As a pilot project, this is the first time we are trying to use AI-based CCTV coverage at all the around 40 CCTV points where we have installed CCTV cameras. We will use AI integrated in the CCTV system. We will also use the drone system to identify blind spots and congestion areas. We are also using the PA (public address) system along with drones to identify 4-5 locations every year where we usually encounter massive traffic congestion to help police officers.”

Besides technological upgradation, this year's Rath Yatra also sees artistic contributions. Bhubaneswar-based miniature artist L. Eswar Rao has created an eco-friendly chariot of deities — Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Balabhadra — using paper and incense sticks. Completed in seven days, the intricate chariot features deities made from tamarind seeds and is two inches tall. Rao has been devoted to the art for the past 25 years and has created a variety of notable pieces, including a World Cup trophy made from the tip of a pencil and a sculpture of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel made from soap.

Sharing his experience and inspiration for this year's project, Rao said, “To mark this year's Rath Yatra, I decided to make miniature models of the chariots of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Balabhadra using paper and incense sticks. It took me seven days to complete the project by decorating it with stars. I used tamarind seeds to make the idols of the deities.”

The Rath Yatra held at the Jagannath Temple in Puri is an important annual event celebrated with great fanfare, drawing in many devotees and tourists. The introduction of AI technology is aimed at streamlining the management of this massive event and enhancing safety for all participants.

While the main focus is on improving traffic and crowd control through advanced technology, artistic touches from local talent like Mr Rao add cultural depth to this year's celebrations. This combination of technology and tradition showcases the evolving nature of the event, ensuring it remains efficient and engaging.

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