iconimg Saturday, May 30, 2015

Kenneth John, Hindustan Times
Allahabad, February 12, 2013
The horror of Sunday's railway station stampede that claimed 36 lives is yet to fade, but the crowds have started swelling again for the next shahi snan on Basant Panchami - February 15.

With around 1.93 crore people expected to pour in from across the country, the officials are pulling up their socks.

The devotees have already started arriving, but the rush is expected to begin in earnest from Wednesday night.

The railways, which had been criticised for ill-preparedness following Sunday's mishap, is alert too.

"Overcrowding on the station premises will be avoided at all costs," said Chief Public Relation Officer of North Central Railway Sandeep Mathur.

"The aim is to have a train depart every half-hour. We will also ensure that fully equipped medical teams are ready at the station."

Besides the 200 regular trains, 58 special trains being run for the mela would also be better managed, added Mathur.

PR Belwariar, regional manager of UP state transport corporation, said compared to 3,440 buses on Sunday and 4,040 buses on Monday, the aim will be to ply as many more as possible.

Dr SP Singh, principal, MLN medical College, said a 48-bed special ward was being specially reserved for a crisis.