SHILLONG, Feb 06: In a first for the state, drones are being used to streamline traffic flow during the largest religious festival ever to take place in the history of Garo Hills- the 145th A’chik Baptist Dalgipa Krima which began at the Dikki Bandi stadium at Tura on Wednesday.
Hailed as one of the largest religious gatherings of the Baptist church, this is the last time that Tura is hosting this mega religious event which, obviously translated to what would otherwise be a nightmare for traffic personnel.
Keeping this in mind, the district administration has decided to use drones for the first time to monitor the flow of traffic and provide updated information to police on areas where the traffic snarls occur.
It may be noted here that the first annual ‘Soba’ or religious gathering took place way back in 1875 at Goalpara in which the first eight churches of the Baptist Church took place. Since then, the annual event has become a crucial aspect of religious celebrations amongst the Garo dominated areas.
This time, lakhs of Christian devotees from the Garo Hills as well as the Khasi Hills, the north eastern states and from abroad are arriving in Tura for the event that will culminate in the biggest religious service on Sunday in which close to three lakh devotees are expected to participate.
Already 1300 delegates from different areas of the northeast and beyond have already arrived in Tura to participate in the opening ceremony of the conference.
This is the first time in the history of Garo Hills that a church service is being telecast live from the Dikki-Bandi stadium into giant screens set up at the Tura mission compound field and the Tura police parade ground in the main market for devotees who cannot make it to the main venue to get an opportunity to partake in the religious service.
Organisers of the historic event have also tied up with CNN News 18 to telecast live the Sunday service to ensure every pilgrim gets an opportunity to take part.
Tura is also in a carnival mode with beautiful decorations, murals, and colourful flowers dotting the landscape of the town.
Citizens of Tura have been tirelessly working to ensure cleanliness of the town, decorating their respective localities with flowers, removing garbage, and lighting up their surroundings with illumination.