Kumbh Mela: Rains force pilgrims to leave before schedule



Allahabad: Heavy rainfall over the last two days has thrown life out of gear at the Maha Kumbh mela premises as several pilgrims, disheartened by uprooted tents, prolonged power cuts and water-logged pathways, have started returning to their respective places before schedule.

The sprawling Kumbh mela area, which has been remaining bathed in light even after nightfall, plunged into darkness late Friday night and remained so last night as well.

Divisional Commissioner of Allahabad Devesh Chaturvedi said that "power supply has been cut to prevent any short circuits as at many places cables have fallen on tents."

"Supply will be restored gradually as the situation is brought under control," he added.

There was perceptible anger among the "Kalpawasi" pilgrims, who are here to observe penance on the banks of the Ganga till Magh Poornima on February 25.

A group of Kalpawasis from the neighbouring district of Mirzapur alleged "we are all old people who faced a tough time moving with our belongings to a place where we could protect ourselves from getting soaked in the winter rain.

"Some jawans of the central paramilitary forces did provide some help but local police personnel were nowhere to be seen. All this despite claims of billions of rupees having been spent on arrangements," they claimed.

Though rainfall ceased this morning, many pilgrims could be seen walking towards bus stops and railway stations with their belongings on their heads and muttering under their breath "how can one stay on when the pathways are knee-deep in water and the entire place becomes pitch dark after night".

Sensing mood of the people, the Kumbh administration has started plying hundreds of buses to ensure a smooth exit while additional forces have been deployed at the railway stations to manage the crowds.

Meanwhile, another person has succumbed to injuries sustained during the stampede at the Allahabad Junction on February 10, raising the death toll to 38.

Sanad Kumar Mishra (45) from Banda district of UP died last night, hospital sources said.

His wife Kamlesh Mishra is also admitted to the hospital with serious injuries, the sources added.

PTI