VIJAYAWADA: Big boulders fell from the hill beside a Durga temple on the hilltop Indrakeeladri minutes before the scheduled visit of Chief Minister, Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy at the temple on Wednesday in Vijayawada. Three persons were injured and officials started a rescue operation to see if anyone was stuck beneath the boulders.
The temple officials installed tents for the media and others and sanitation workers were pressed into work in view of Jagan's visit. Suddenly, big boulders fell onto the ground and people ran out of the tents to save themselves. Minister, Kodali Venkateswara Rao, alias Nani and Krishna district collector, A. Md. Imtiaz, rushed to the spot to speed up the rescue operation. A major mishap was averted as there were no rush of devotees due to cancellation of darshan to masses in view of Jagan's visit.
Scheduled to visit the Durga temple at 3.45 pm to present silk robes to the goddess, sanitation workers were engaged in cleaning the site for Jagan when the boulders fell to the ground, collapsing the temporary tents. The people in the tents ran in panic and three workers were stuck in the debris.
Few sanitation workers who miraculously escaped from the incident with simple injuries said that the incessant rains for the past one week turned dangerous as boulders earlier also fell on October 13 on the temple ghat road. They said that they observed the slipping of the boulders and informed the temple officials.
The police, temple employees and other departments rushed to the spot and rescued K. Kiran, B. Sudhakar and V. Satya Saicharan from the debris and shifted them to a private hospital for treatment. The officials led by Imtiaz and Vijayawada city police commissioner, B. Srinivasulu, rushed to the spot and pressed cranes into service to clear the debris. The atmosphere turned tense due to the impending visit but Jagan decided to visit the temple at 4.45 pm giving time for rescue operation.
Inspecting the spot where the boulders fell, Jagan inquired about the incident. The temple trust board chairperson, Pyla Somi Naidu, said Jagan announced Rs 70 crore to the temple’s development. He said that the hilly areas would be modernised by installing iron meshes and fences to restrain the falling of boulders.
Temple executive officer, M. V. Suresh Babu, refuted allegations about negligence of temple officials in the falling of the boulders. Imtiaz visited the hospital and consoled the three injured persons. He directed district medical and health officer, Dr. M. Suhasini, to provide required treatment to the injured....