Barricades were not removed: G Butchai Chowdary
Hyderabad: A senior IPS official from Andhra Pradesh said that barricades were removed based on the instructions of a minister and an MLA. “Of the four-line barricading plan given by the district SP, only one line was intact and three other lines were removed based on the instructions of collector H. Arun Kumar on the directives of the minister and MLA. Due to this, the crowd was in one line of the barricade which fell apart leading to the stampede. The CCTV footage is evidence,” the official said.
East Godavari collector H. Arun Kumar said, “I have no such information on changes of crowd management plan.” Rajahmundry MLA, G. Butchai Chowdary refuted the allegations and said: “We did not instruct any changes. The four line barricading existed when the stampede occurred. The Chief Minister usually takes a dip in Pushkar ghat like seers. Endowments department had told him to take the dip in Pushkar ghat stating that he should take a dip at the same place as seers. Usually on the first day people from north Andhra don’t come in large numbers but this time they did.”
Senior police officials claimed that were no ambulances at the Pushkar ghat and no arrangements of stretchers, while the district collector said ambulances are stationed at each Pushkar ghat based on the foot fall of 2003 Pushkaralu.