National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) has identified crucial areas where security personnel should be more alert regarding possibilities of stampede-like situations during Simhastha Maha Kumbh.
An NDRF battalion of 150 personnel from Varanasi has been deployed to deal with eventualities, if any. The unit, under union home ministry, has been involved for the first time to tackle contingency situations in Simhastha.
“After inspections of the entire Simhastha area, Ramghat of River Kshipra and some sections in Mahakal Temple, premises have been marked that may present stampede-like situations. We have advised the local administration accordingly,” deputy commandant Davendra Kumar told HT.
NDRF teams have been deployed at Ramghat, Bhukimata, Mangalnath of River Kshipra and at Mahakal Temple.
“Our personnel are trained to rescue people in case of drowning, stampede, building collapse and accidents by fire. We have modern equipment like life-sensing machines to locate survivors under rubbles of a collapsed building, breathing jackets and stretchers that can be fitted inside MRI or CT Scan machines,” he added.
“One can call on helpline numbers 8004931402 and 8004931478 to report an accident or seek help,” Kumar said.
Superintendent of police (SP) M S Verma said, “We have chalked out routes to direct crowd movement at separate lanes for both directions. Crowd inflow inside the temple will be regulated and zig-zag barricading has been done at ghats.”
Sadhus to take first holy dip in Kshipra on April 22
In less than 48 hours, sadhus will immerse themselves in the Kshipra River as part of the first royal holy dip (shahi snan) of Simhastha Kumbh 2016.
The three days of holy dip --April 22, May 9 and 21--are likely to bring in 60% of the estimated five crore pilgrims expected in Ujjain for the holy dip.
Haridwar, Prayag (Allahabad), Nashik and Ujjain take turn once every twelve years to hold Kumbh Mela that attracts millions of devotees and sadhus, who trek in from other states. Lakhs of sadhus camp in their respective akharas and bathe in Kshipra on dates reserved for shahi snan.
Seers and sadhus come in processions from their camps to take bath at Ramghat and Dutta Akhara banks from the early hours of the day till about 2pm. All 13 akharas will return within an allotted time slot, following which devotees and tourists are allowed to take bath in the ghats.
However, other ghats like Triveni, Gaughat, Bhukimata, Gangaghat and Mangalnath will be available for pilgrims throughout the day.