RAJAHMUNDRY: With the administration focusing more on pilgrim safety on the second day of Pushkarams on Wednesday, it has completely lost sight of other aspects like drinking water and transport facilities. At many places pilgrims faced problems due to lack of drinking water. The officials did not allow non-governmental organisations who came forward to supply food, drinking water and buttermilk free of cost to the pilgrims.
As many as 27 pilgrims died and scores of pilgrims were injured in the stampede that took place at Pushkar Ghat on Tuesday, on the first day of GMP.
Even the temporary toilets are in a deplorable condition with water not being arranged there.
Meanwhile, cashing in on the chaotic situation where proper amenities are not available for the pilgrims, hoteliers are charging Rs 90 per ordinary meal and Rs 25 per mineral water bottle. Non-governmental and religious organisations have come forward to supply food to 3.5 lakh people free of cost.
However, as the government has imposed a host of restrictions on them, they are in a quandary on how to serve the pilgrims.
The adminisration has appealed to the people to pass on information through WhatsApp at phone number 94912 35816, Facebook and Twitter.
One VR Subbaiah (68) of Palasa area said he came to Rajahmundry on Wednesday morning and the officials had stopped him at a place 3 km away from the ghats. “Free bus services are not available as claimed by the government. Because of this, I was forced to go to the ghats on foot,” he said and recalled that the pilgrims could reach the ghats in a hassle-free manner during Pushkarams in 2003.
Another devotee Maha Lakshmi (60) of Rajahmundry said the police were arranging stoppers at various places and questioning the locals. “I have never witnessed such shoddy security arrangements during Pushkarams,”she said.
Meanwhile, chief minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu directed the police officials to limit the number of vehicles in his convoy to three or four. He said he was ready to reach the ghats on foot if there were any traffic problems.