Thursday, January 18, 2018
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mela officials
It is indeed gratifying to note that both the Mela administration and the Railways are taking utmost precautions to ensure that the Basant Panchmi bath passes off peacefully. Although the furore created by the stampede on Mauni Amavasya day has not ended, yet life appears to have come back to normal with the flow of pilgrims picking up as usual, undaunted by the past tragedy.

The Mela administration has become wiser and it seems now they will not shunt pilgrims towards the Railway stations to create unmanageable congestion there but also try to clear the rush through the additional buses that have been pressed into service. 

This is not all. The Mela administration is reported to have now decided to provide adequate number of buses on both sides of the Allahabad railway station for ferrying people outside the city. The Railways had been saying that there were limitations to their capacity to carry the crowd. And that is a fact because railway tracks are limited. Movement of trains is subject to the availability of tracks. If for some reason a train is delayed, those behind cannot bypass them. But in case of buses this difficulty is not there. Like arteries, routes can be arranged for them in such a way as to ensure orderly and speedy movement. But this would require proper planning. For instance, buses parked on the Civil Lines side might be allotted the routes on parallel civil lines roads. Some may use Nawab Yusuf Road, others may go on MG Marg, some on Elgin Road, others on Tashkent Marg, Kanpur Road etc. If this allotment is done there will be less confusion or possibility of a jam. In other words,the Roadways will not just have to operate from the city side of the junction but also plan movement of buses from Civil Lines side. The traffic officials will, however have to ensure that they don’t post sleepy, lazy, lethargic, fat-bellied cops at the crucial points. I often find them lazily enjoying ‘gutka’ or tea at roadside shops while on duty.

Trains obviously do not have so many options or alternatives.But they too do not want to be caught napping. Having learnt the bitter way of what happens when medical personnel is not available on platforms, the Railways have decided to keep their railway medical van, which is like a mini hospital, ready in the yards today so that it could reach the accident site promptly— should a mishap occur again. It is now being admitted that crucial time was lost after the stampede before the relief operations could be initiated. And that could have saved many lives. This medical van of the Railways is self-propelled-- equipped with a team of doctors, medicines, oxygen cylinders and other necessary systems. The decision to induct this van into service was taken at a high-level meeting of the Railways on Tuesday evening so that nothing is left to chance on the Basant Panchami day falling today. Crowds in large numbers have already started pouring into the city and marching towards Sangam. 

The idea of a medical van is laudable and commendable too as it will enable medical help to reach the victims immediately in the event of any untoward incident. The rail van can bring the victims back to the yard from where they could be transported to hospitals in ambulances, even if the main pathways within the station are blocked. If only such foresight had been exercised earlier, the tragedy that occurred might have been less gruesome in its dimensions.


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Magh Mela 2014

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