Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Jodhpur stampede: India's inefficient management claims more than 150 lives

The STATE and SYSTEM in India have scant regard for the public importance issues. The mammoth population in this country demand a very professional, efficient and focused approach especially in dealing with crowd or places where rush of people anticipated. And, perhaps each occasion and public place falls in this category in the country. Lessons are there and past incidents tell us how to do it. In this year alone 360 people killed in stampede while blasts claimed 156!

The souls of the scores of deceased in Jodhpur stampede screams that please awake now and put a well-planned approach at every possible places- be it temples, railway stations, stadiums, fairs and market places. Also, the recent blasts in many cities enhanced the need of a clear-cut approach on post-incident measures.

More than 150 people died in Jodhpur in a stampede at famous Chamunda Devi temple situated at 15th century Mehrangarh fort in Rajasthan yesterday. On the first day of Navratri festival more than 15000 people rushed to the fort early morning. A group of youths broke the queue and in ensuing mad rush started a chain reaction- people started felling on one another. The devotees have to first climb up the fort on foot through a narrow passage and then descend down to visit the temple. Rescue operation took long time as vehicles could only go up to the gate of the fort. Devotees queue up for a glimpse of the deity right from 2am in the morning outside the gate.

Naina Devi temple in Himachal Pradesh saw about 150 people met the untimely death only one month ago due to the poor planning. Our national disaster force which got kudos for their role in Bihar flood rescue mission took six long hours to reach the spot from Delhi when the worst was already over!

Mughalsarai and New Delhi railway station, Puri temple stampede, Sabrimala stampede these all in recent memories send shiver down the bone. But, no lessons learnt at all. Where there are temples and regular crowd is witnessed the administration should have a separate squad ready to crowd control and in this age of technology better use of surveillance cameras and sound system could be put into place.

Take a leaf out from the crowd management skills from Golden Temple (Sikh pilgrimage), Amritsar where on an average 100000 devotees visit everyday and from Tirupati temple in South India which smoothly deal with more than 60000 devotees per day.

For the god sake take the measures quickly.

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