With just a week to go for Srawani Mela at Deoghar, the district authorities have stepped up security to meet any untoward eventualities. The fair is scheduled to commence from July 19, with chief minister Raghubar Das to formally inaugurate it.
Keeping in view last year’s stampede that claimed 10 lives, this year, the government has posted a special Mela DIG and Mela SP for security purposes and has set up 20 temporary police stations, including six for regulating traffic.
The Deoghar administration held an inter-state meeting of police and administrative officials and discussed the arrangements. Senior officials including Mungyer divisional commissioner NC Jha and Bhagalpur zonal inspector general of police S Khorpe from Bihar and the district magistrates from four Bihar districts - Bhagalpur, Mungyer, Banka and Jamui - took part in the Monday meeting.
Jha, who presided over the meeting, said the safety and security of the devotees is their prime aim right from Sultanpur - the location from where they pick up the Ganga jal - till they reach Deoghar and pour the holy water on the shivalinga at the Baidyanath temple.
“Since the influx of kanwaria (the devotees) is to expected rise this year, we have decided to change the route in the larger interest of the kanwaria to protect any stampede-like situation. Police appointments for all 20 temporary police stations, including those given the task of regulating traffic, have already been made. Over 9,000 personnel from the National Disaster Management group, the JAP, RAP and the state police have been pressed into service for the mela,” he said. Jha said as part of regulating the rising number of kanwarias, they have decided to regulate the number from Banka district, Bihar. The administration is also considering the withdrawal of special facilities to dak kanwaria on Sundays and Mondays, he said.