Crowd Mgmt Comes a Cropper, Many Pilgrims Stranded - The New Indian Express

Crowd Mgmt Comes a Cropper, Many Pilgrims Stranded

Published: 25th December 2013 09:58 AM

Last Updated: 25th December 2013 09:59 AM

Flaws in crowd management and the failure to implement the measures under the disaster management system by the district administration have affected thousands of pilgrims who were stranded on the important Sabarimala roads in deep forests since Monday afternoon. The pilgrims had to spend eight to 12 hours without drinking  water and refreshments.

Blocking of vehicles, including KSRTC buses  at Nilackal, Elavunkal,  Plappally, Laha, Perunad  and Vadasserikara on the Mannarakulanji-Chalakayam Road and Kanamala, Pampavalley and Naranmmoozh on the Erumely-Elavunkal Road in the name of heavy rush of pilgrims caused severe hardships to thousands of pilgrims.

The police resorted to block the pilgrims’ vehicles at Nilackal, Elavunkal and Plappally only when the queue of pilgrims went beyond Sabaripeedom and the crowd occupied maximum space at Pampa Nadapandal.

It was decided to block the pilgrims when the queue was extended up to Saramkuthi. Acting on the advice of the inexperienced police special officers at Sabarimala and Pampa, who resorted to take the extreme measure of blocking pilgrims in the deep forest stretch caused the hardships for the pilgrims.

“I boarded the Pampa-bound bus at Pathanamthitta at 3 pm on Monday and could reach Pampa only at one am on Tuesday. I had to spend three times more than the usual time required to reach there on account of the road blockade by the police at Puthukada, Laha, Plappally, Elavunkal and Nilackal” , Satheesh, a devotee from Pullad near Kozhenchery said.

“The district administration or voluntary agencies did not supply drinking water or snacks to the stranded pilgrims,” he said.

Lack of coordination between the district administration and the police on the crowd control measures led to the denial of even drinking water facilities to the stranded pilgrims.

It was only last week that a review meeting on disaster management chaired by Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash and attended by the District Collector and the district SPat Pampa discussed the measures for disaster  management, including distribution of drinking water, snacks and mobile medical assistance.

However, the district administration failed to come to the rescue of the thousands of pilgrims who stranded on the deep forest roads since Monday afternoon.

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