More buses to tackle rush on Basant Panchami
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Govt had arranged 2,500 buses for Mauni Amavasya, but most of them got stuck in jams
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.