Patna: Bihar government has sought a report from the Patna Municipal Corporation on defective high mast lights suspected to be one of the reasons behind the stampede here that claimed 33 lives on Dusshera day.
"I have directed Commissioner, Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) to give a report to me on the high mast lights on the gate that opened towards Ramgoolam Chowk, the spot where the stampede took place on October 3," Urban Development Minister Samrat Chaudhary told PTI today.
The report, to be submitted by Friday, would cover the condition of the lights and general arrangements in Gandhi Maidan on the Dusshera day when 33 persons were killed and 29 others injured.
Based on the report, officials found guilty would be subjected to severe punishment, the minister said.
Many survivors and eyewitnesses who deposed yesterday before a two-member probe committee, today cited poor lighting condition due to non-functioning of high mast lights as a major reason for the commotion.
Due to low-light condition, people could not see the broken cattle guard as a result of which some women fell down triggering the stampede, survivors told the probe team comprising Principal Secretary (Home) Amir Subhani and Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters) Gupteshwar Pandey.
A senior PMC officer, who did not want to be named, said it was found after the stampede that the cable of one of the lights had been stolen and because of which the 400 watt CFL was not functioning that day.
The officer said power supply to the high mast lights was provided by Patna Electricity Supply Undertaking (PESU) while PMC's responsibility was to keep the maidan clean. But, for public convenience, the PMC extended assistance in upkeep of lights.
PESU officials said there are 8 high mast lights in and around Gandhi maidan and each of the mast has 12 CFLs of 400 watt each.
Meanwhile, 16 more persons deposed before the probe panel in the open session which ended today. A total of 51 survivors of the stampede recorded their statement yesterday.
The probe team would record statements of former Patna District Magistrate Manish Kumar Verma and Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj tomorrow. The two were among four officials transferred following the stampede.