Rajahmundry: Describing the Godavari Pushkaram stampede as "unfortunate", Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said his government will ensure that such tragedies do not recur and pilgrims don't face further troubles during the 12-day festival.
On July 13, the opening day of the event, 27 pilgrims, mostly women lost their lives while several others were injured when a stampede broke out at Pushkar ghat here.
Addressing a gathering after distributing ex-gratia cheques to stampede victims at Anam Kalkendram here last night, Naidu said, "Our government commenced the work (on arrangements for the holy dip) four months ahead with an aim to provide all facilities to pilgrims but unfortunately many of them swarmed to one bathing ghat and this happened."
"Now, queue management has been introduced for smooth movement of pilgrims to various bath ghats while they proceed to take a dip and vice-versa on their return. Elaborate arrangements have been made for accommodation, drinking water, food packets and sanitation too," he said.
"In view of the incident, we are monitoring the situation at various ghats including pilgrim rush, bathing and other facilities through CCTVs, which are kept at ghats and linked with the Control Room," Naidu added.
Later, the CM held a review meeting with various department officials late last night over the arrangements on the second day, when about 17,29,279 pilgrims took a holy dip in Godavari, an official release said today.
Naidu then directed Trainee Collectors prepare a comprehensive report daily to know the problems faced by pilgrims taking dip and also facilities provided to pilgrims in 282 bathing ghats in East and West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.
Naidu said recently Viskahpatnam was hit by 'Hudhud' cyclone, but normalcy was restored in eight days.
"In the same manner, we must take appropriate steps and prepare a comprehensive plan for the ongoing Pushkaram to ensure that the opening day incident does not happen again," he said seeking co-operation from pilgrims and district officials for peaceful conduct of the event.
He also said there is need to regularise queue system to avoid over-crowding at ghats while shifting pilgrims to spacious ones in accordance with the inflow and their requirements.