The endowment minister frequently visits the temple for darshan but ignored calls to ensure safety of the devotees at the Basar shrine and thereabouts. (DC Image)
ADILABAD: Lack of safety measures in River Godavari close to Basar temple has resulted in several incidents of drowning by devotees while taking the holy dip there in Nirmal district.
Two students who came along with their friends from Akola, Maharashtra, drowned while taking a a dip in the waters near Basar temple on May 14. The team of 15 college students who went there for darshan of Goddess Saraswati ended the trip on a sad note.
After the incident, the students expressed concern over lack of safety at the bathing ghats and criticised the temple authorities for their inaction.
No special area has been earmarked with ropes for taking a holy dip at the ghats that were constructed during the Godavari Pushkaralu.
Many parents bring their kids to initiate them into alphabets at the abode of the Goddess Saraswati and the rush is huge for Aksharabhyasam on the occasion of Vasantha Panchami, considered as the goddess’ birthday. Children are brought in also during the summer holidays.
The rush of the devotees would be more on special occasions. As many as 10,000 students are enrolled at Basar IIIT. They often come to have darshan of the goddess.
Children, the elderly and students are more prone to drown while taking the holy dip at the bathing ghats in Basar.
Endowment minister Allola Indrakaran had repeatedly announced a state government allocation of Rs 50 crore for the development of the Basar temple. He had also said the construction of 44 rooms for accommodation of the devotees would start soon. But, the safety and security of the devotees are more important at the Basar temple, say devotees.
The endowment minister frequently visits the temple for darshan but ignored calls to ensure safety of the devotees at the Basar shrine and thereabouts.
Devotees say the endowment department and the temple authorities should place life jackets and balloons for the safety of the devotees who can’t swim but still have to take the holy dip. "Professions swimmers can be engaged as a rescue team with the safety gear. A boat can be kept ready to save the lives in emergencies," they propose.
There have also been instances of distressed people from within the state and even from Maharashtra come to the temple ghats area and end their lives.
Some such people had committed suicide by jumping into the waters from the inter-district bridge on the Gadavari after having a darshan of Goddess Saraswati.