Godavari spruced up for Antya Pushkaralu

Security arrangements made at over 25 bathing ghats.

Rajahmundry: The Godavari Antya Pushkaralu is all set to unspool in the Godavari districts from the early hours of Sunday. Deputy chief minister N. Chinarajappa, public representatives and district officials will take a holy dip at about 6 am and perform rituals at the Saraswati Ghat here, which has been set aside for VIPs. The officials intend to avoid visiting Pushkar ghat after the stampede that claimed 28 lives during the inauguration of the Godavari Maha Pushkaralu, held last July.

Minister for endowments P. Manikyala Rao, public representatives and officials will visit a ghat at Narasapuram. The authorities have made arrangements at over 25 bathing ghats along the course of the Godavari river in both the districts for the benefit of devotees, who are expected from West Bengal, Odisha, TS and AP to take dip in the river. Rajahmundry is hosting the fete as it has a good number of ghats with the requisite amenities. There are eight ghats in and around the city while 12 ghats are in the rural areas.

The authorities have made elaborate security arrangements at the ghats, last year's incident being still green in everyone's minds. Barricades have been set up both inside and outside the ghats and a large posse of police personnel has been deployed to regulate the surge of devotees who will be standing in the barricades prior to reaching the ghats in safety without pushing and jostling one another.

The police have also installed CCTV cameras at the important ghats and main centres to pre-empt any stampede-like situation. Changing rooms, temporary toilets, potable water supply and other amenities are available and medical personnel have been stationed at the ghats. Master swimmers with speed boats will also be present if any rescue operations are required. District collectors in both the Godavari districts held a series of meetings with officials to ensure that the arrangements were foolproof and the devotees' safety and comfort taken care of.

The Water Resources authorities intend to ensure adequate water levels at the bathing ghats upstream from Sir Arthur Cotton Barrage up to Polavaram. Godavari river conservator N. Krishna Rao said, “As the Godavari is witnessing a good inflow of water following rainfall in its catchment areas, we are releasing 2.5 lakh cusecs of water into the sea from the barrage and ensuring a minimum of 3 ft of water at the ghats to facilitate a comfortable dip in the river.” West Godavari joint collector P. Koteswara Rao said, “We have made all requisite arrangements at the ghats at Kovvur, Narasapuram, Polavaram and other areas for the performance of rituals.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story