Stampede at ‘Godavari Pushkaralu’, death toll rises to 29; Chandrababu Naidu visits injured

Hyderabad(PTI/ANI): The 12-day-long ‘Godavari Pushkaralu’ began today in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. A stampede at the Pushkaralu ghat in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh has led to the death of at least 22 people with more causalities feared. More than 40 have been injured in the stampede.

Crores of devotees were expected to take part in the mega congregation for which elaborate arrangements have been put in place in both states. Police estimated the crowd swelled to more than one million on Tuesday. The government of the southern state expects some 40 million pilgrims

Deeply pained at the loss of lives due to stampede at Rajahmundry. My condolences to the families of the deceased & prayers with the injured

14:53 IST Tuesday, 14 July 2015
The Chief Minister has said that he will stay on at Rajahmundry till the situation is brought under control. He also shared emergency contact information

I will stay in Rajahmundry until normalcy is restored. Here’s emergency contact information: . Spread the word.

Here are the emegency numbers for Rajahmundry-

Governement HQ Hospital (Ambulance service): 91 – 883 – 2473022

Government Hospital: 91 – 883 – 2576027

Jagruthi Voluntary Blood Bank: 91 – 883 – 2443612

Police Station: 91 – 883 – 2471033, 91 – 883 – 2471133, 91 – 883 – 2471043, 91 – 883 – 2442933

A complete list of emergency phone numbers can be found here.

Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu meets people injured during Pushkaralu ghat stampede.

14:33 IST Tuesday, 14 July 2015
ANI reports that death toll has risen to 29. 40 others have reportedly been injured. The incident did not deter pilgrims, who continue to pour into the festival grounds, carrying children and luggage above their heads or perched atop cars stranded in the throng.

More than 15,000 police and 171 closed circuit television cameras were in place to monitor the flow of visitors to the festival, officials said.

14:32 IST Tuesday, 14 July 2015

CM Chadrababu Naidu met with those injured in the stampede.

13:52 IST Tuesday, 14 July 2015
According to a district official, the death toll from the stampede at Rajahmundry has risent to 27.

13:53 IST Tuesday, 14 July 2015
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday expressed her shock over the tragedy that occurred due to a stampede at the Pushkaralu ghat.

13:19 IST Tuesday, 14 July 2015
The Andhra Pradesh government has announced compensation of Rs. 10 lakh for the victims’ next of kin, ANI reports.

Extending her condolences to the families of the deceased in the tragedy, she hoped that the injured are being provided immediate (contd)..

(contd) medical treatment & relief.Smt. Gandhi also said that the Govt should take adequate steps to ensure that such incidents do not recur

12:26 IST Tuesday, 14 July 2015
Chandrababu Naidu spoke about the tragedy and cautioned pilgrims to follow instructions-

12:21 IST Tuesday, 14 July 2015
The death toll has risen to 22. The exact number of the dead and their details remain unclear. According to a report by The Hindu, most of the victims are women, with one woman drowning in the river.

The report says that emergency workers from the 108 helpline could not make it to the venue in time to treat the victims. The ambulances were stuck in traffic.

Details of the deceased are not available yet. While some of the bodies have been lined outside the ghat, some were taken to a government hospital.

11:59 IST Tuesday, 14 July 2015
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu to discuss the situation on ground.

Earlier today, Naidu, accompanied by his wife and son, took the holy dip here, where the Godavari river is full in its expanse. He offered prayers to the river and blew a conch shell to mark the beginning of the 12-day event. Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayandra Sarswathi also took the sacred bath.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao took the holy dip at Dharmapuri in Karimnagar district, kicking off the event in the state.

Andhra Pradesh government had made elaborate arrangements as it expected about 3.5 to 4 crore people to take part in the event. There are 263 bathing ghats in the East and West Godavari districts in coastal Andhra where the pilgrims take the holy dip while Telangana has 106 such ghats.

Telangana government, too, is taking every measure to ensure the smooth conduct of the festival. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao will take a holy dip in the river at Dharmapuri in Karimnagar district.

Similar to the ‘Kumbh melas’, celebrated by the banks of the holy rivers of India, ‘Pushkaralu’ is held every 12 years in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Taking a dip in Godavari river is the main feature of the festival. The event this year is special as it marks the ‘Maha Pushkaram’, which comes once in every 144 years.

“This is very significant from the astronomical point of view. The conjunction of ‘Brihaspati’ (Jupiter) entering into ‘Simha rasi’ (zodiac sign of Leo),” Advisor (Communications) to Andhra Pradesh government, Parakala Prabhakar, who heads a committee on ‘Pushkaram’, said earlier.

With agency inputs.