VIJAYAWADA: With an influx of 3.5 crore pilgrims expected for the 12-day Krishna Pushkarams beginning August 12, the State government is leaving nothing to chance.
Water resources minister D Umamaheswara Rao said nearly 2.06 tmc ft of water is being stored in the Pulichintala project as reserve. It will be released should the bathing ghats along the Krishna river run dry during the 12-day festival.
Also, measures are being taken to provide suitable sites for priests to perform ancestor appeasement rituals for pilgrims. Around Rs 8 crore has been spent by the state government to refurbish the Tummalapalli Kalakshetram with modern facilities to host cultural events during the Pushkarams.
The minister said development works near the Krishna-Godavari Sangamam at Ferry in Ibrahimpatnam are going on at a brisk pace. The State has decided to establish replicas of the Tirumala and Kanaka Durga temples there. Police, revenue and endowments departments will work in coordination to help pilgrims take a holy dip without difficulty at the pushkar ghats.
Krishna Pushkarams special officer B Rajasekhar said steps are being taken to prevent any unforeseen buildup of pilgrims as was witnessed on the first day of the Godavari Maha Pushkarams last, when 29 people were killed in a stampede at one of the gates. As many as 36 pushkar nagars were developed to accommodate pilgrims during the festival. Development works of pushkar ghats near Muktyala, Vedadri, Sagara Sangamam and Hamsaladeevi are nearing completion, he said. The pushkar ghats in the city have been zoned for administrative convenience. “Three zones will span the 2.3 km ghat upstream of the Prakasam barrage to VTPS at Ibrahimpatnam and three more zones will span the 1.7 km stretch from the Prakasam barrage to Krishnalanka downstream,” Rajasekhar said. Krishna district collector Babu A said `86 crore has been paid as compensation to 138 families who lost houses to road widening from Kummaripalem to Varadhi near Krishnalanka. Houses were built for people who lost their houses to various other road-widening works in the city. “Over 17,000 additional policemen will be deployed in Krishna district for smooth conduct of the pushkarams. A road map will be designed for the convenience of pilgrims to reach the bathing ghats safely. Proposals will be drawn up to regulate traffic and avoid congestion near the major junctions leading to the pushkar ghats,” said Vijayawada police commissioner Gautam Sawang.