The Civil Lines bus stop — largest and nearest to the railway station — apparently did not have adequate number of buses on the day of the stampede that claimed 36 lives. The administration and police are now discussing ways to ensure that adequate buses are available at the depot on Basant Panchami, the next shahi snan day, falling on February 15. A huge crowd is expected on that day too.
“We had earmarked 2,500 buses for Mauni Amavasya. But a large number of buses, which brought devotees from various parts of the state, were stopped many kilometres away or got stuck in traffic jams. Many of them were stuck 12 to 18 km away. So, they could not reach the depot from where people could have been ferried out of the city,” said S P Singh, station manager of Civil Lines bus station. “The buses got stuck due to the presence of a large number of vehicles, mostly smaller ones,” he added.
SSP (Allahabad), Mohit Agarwal, said: “On the day of the incident, the railways informed us about the huge crowd only at 5 pm, after which 200 buses were provided. By that time, the crowd had already entered the railway station. The roads have not been widened on the route to Varanasi. It leads to the slowing down of the average speed of vehicles. But on the other routes, towards Lucknow and Mirzapur, there is not much problem.”
Agrawal added that, if need be, they would help the Railways in informing the devotees about the options available before them. “The only thing devotees knew was Allahabad railway station. The Railways had a plan but failed to educate the people that there were other stations — Rambagh, Jhunsi and Naini — which were to be used for catching trains for different directions,” he said.
The administration said that a preliminary look at the CCTV footage of platform number six did not indicate any instance of lathicharge, which was believed to have triggered the stampede. “The preliminary look only suggests that there were lots of people. Somebody toppled near the stairs and several people, with all their belongings fell on each other,” said an official.
Thirty of the 36 bodies were identified on Tuesday.
‘Intense rain at Sangam from Feb 15’
Lucknow: The Meteorological Department has forecast “intense rainfall” for three days over the Sangam area of Allahabad as compared to other parts of the state from February 15. Deputy Director General of Meteorology O P Singh further said that the Sangam area will receive moderate rainfall with one or two heavy spells on February 16 and 17. He added that after rain, the minimum temperature will fall significantly, leading to fog and a chilly spell from February 18 for two to three days.