Ahead of another Shahi Snan, UP govt to ply more buses

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 the police are now discussing ways to ensure that adequate buses are made available at the depot on Basant Panchami, which is the next Shahi Snan day, that falls 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 around 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."

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.

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