The litmus test for the state government's conduct of the Krishna Pushkarams will be tomorrow, Thursday. Pilgrims in the lakhs are expected to throng the bathing ghats on Krishna river on account of Sravana Purnima (Raksha Bandhan).
The Police Department is on its toes, making elaborate arrangements to ensure orderly movement of the pilgrims. Director-general of police N Sambasiva Rao said police officials will take a decision on allowing movement of pilgrims and vehicles as per the situation on the ground.
The police expect August 18 to be the peak day of the Krishna Pushkarams. Therefore, traffic restrictions will be dynamic and may change as per the rush. Divers and swimmers posted at the ghats have been asked to be alert as the number of people taking a dip in the river will be more.
Mini buses transporting Pushkaram pilgrims to the bathing ghats will continue, however. "If the rush is more, there will be restrictions on the movement of buses and traffic will be regulated. We request the people to understand the situation and cooperate with the authorities," the DGP said.
So far the Krishna Pushkarams have gone off peacefully barring yesterday's incident in which five students died while swimming in the Krishna after a bath at Gidugu in Amaravati mandal in Guntur district.
On Wednesday afternoon, an eight-year-old boy was rescued from drowning by a constable. And when a woman and her son accidentally slipped into a canal at the Gollapudi Ghat on Wednesday evening, an armed constable from Visakhapatnam jumped in and rescued the duo.
In view of the expected rush, water and buttermilk sachets are being placed in large numbers at all ghats and more personnel are being deployed at the pushkar ghats. All VIP and VVIP traffic will concentrated at the Punnami Ghat, where necessary arrangements have been put in place. The rush on the sixth day of the ongoing river festival was moderate on Wednesday with a pilgrim number of 10,77,178 by 5 p.m.
The Vijayawada ghats alone accounted for 4,25,722 pilgrims. Devotees continued to throng the temple of Kanaka Durga and the rush continued to be higher than one lakh. Devotee rush has been more than one lakh in the temple in the last four days, which is unprecedented in the history of the temple.