Rajahmundry: A day after the horrific tragedy in which 27 pilgrims were killed due to a stampede, the state government began a damage control exercise by streamlining the conduct of Godavari Maha Pushkaralu, right from crowd management to regulation of vehicles on the National Highway.
Top cops, led by DGP J.V. Ramudu landed in the city and senior officers of the rank of additional DG, IG, DIG, SP and additional SP were posted at important bathing ghats like Pushkar ghat, Saraswati ghat, Kotilingala ghat etc. The DGP visited the three ghats in East Godavari and a ghat Goshpada Kshetram at Kovvur to take stock of the security arrangements in place to regulate the surging devotees. Later, Mr Ramudu also undertook an aerial survey along with other senior cops and suggested changes to avoid any further untoward incidents. Ghats were being monitored on CCTV and drivers of buses were instructed to reach ghats which were less crowded. On crowd management, the authorities issued 19 alerts and 10 alerts on traffic regulation via drones.
Four pilgrims killed in three road accidents
Four pilgrims, all of them either going to, or returning from, the Godavari Pushkaralu, were killed in three separate road accidents in the wee hours of Wednesday in Vizag, while 10 others were injured. The first mishap occurred near Sunapubatti area on Sabbavaram- Anakapalle road, in which three pilgrims were killed when the van, carrying over 12 devotees collided with another van coming from the opposite direction at around 3 am.
While two pilgrims died on the spot, the driver, P.A. Narayana, died in a hospital. The other two deceased were identified as B. Yerrapudu and K. Subhadramma. In the second accident on NH-16 near Konavanipalem, a private bus with 45 pilgrims on board, hit a lorry from behind, killing one person. In the third incident, an auto-rickshaw carrying eight pilgrims overturned. The passengers escaped with minor injuries.
Location: Andhra Pradesh