The district administration is determined to make every possible arrangement for Chhath revellers’ safety, taking lesson from last year’s tragedy at Adalat Ghat.
The authorities have decided to start preparations for the biggest festival of Bihar well in advance to ensure fear psychosis does not prevail over festive fervour. A meeting in this connection was convened last week at the Patna commissioner’s office. Another round of parleys is scheduled in the first week of October, sources said.
On November 19 evening last year, at least 18 Chhath devotees were killed in a stampede near Adalat Ghat. The tragedy struck when the devotees were on their way back home after offering the Pehli Arghya (first obeisance) to the Sun.
Taking lesson from the catastrophe, the district administration has decided to take concrete steps to ensure safety during the Chhath celebrations, tentatively on November 8 and 9. Its primary focus would be on Adalat Ghat in the Ashok Rajpath area, said an official.
A senior officer of the district administration told The Telegraph on Friday: “Chhath revellers would be allowed to pay obeisance to the Sun at Adalat Ghat this year. Initial talks on preparations have started. After last year’s tragedy, special attention would be paid to Adalat Ghat. The preparations would be absolutely concrete and the administration would ensure that the devotees can throng the ghat without any fear.”
After the Chhath tragedy last year, the administration had organised holy bath on the occasion of Kartik Poornima and Chaiti Chhath at the ghat.
“The administration had organised them successfully. There would not be any problem during the Chhath also,” the official said.
The ghat at present is in a shambles. Trash is strewn all over the place. The administration would have to work very hard to make it ready for the devotees before Chhath.
The district administration official said: “Several issues were discussed in the meeting last week. As the festival nears, the administration, as usual, would release a list of ghats that can be used by the devotees during the Chhath. Simultaneously, directions for proper cleaning and maintenance of the ghats would be given to Patna Municipal Corporation. Police would be asked to prepare a foolproof security plan. A final meeting would be convened in the first week of October. Our primary focus would be on erecting stronger makeshift bridges. All other arrangements, including traffic, lighting and force deployment, would also be discussed in the meeting.”
A resident of the Adalat Ghat area said: “The district administration should ensure enough lighting and police deployment near the ghats to avoid a rerun of last year’s catastrophe. Also, special attention should be paid to strengthen the makeshift bridges.”