The railways, UP government and road transport ministry had one full financial year to prepare for the Maha Kumbh. What raises serious question on their preparations is that at least 37 people have died on the main day of the Kumbh Mela. According to Uttar Pradesh government's chief secretary, as many as 29 women, seven men and a baby girl died in the stampede at the railway station.
- Railways had one full financial year to prepare for the Mela, but they failed. They could have introduced several new trains, decongested traffic and set up temporary platforms and halts for the trains. As a last resort, barricading could have been done on the railway stations to restrict entry of devotees.
- There was no interdepartmental coordination between the road transport ministry, the railways and the UPSRTC. Private operators could have been roped in to transport the crowd to the Mela site and away from the site.
- An ISBT could have been set up on ground zero ....the nationalised banks of India and the Reserve Bank had set up special counters to handle the tourist inflow but no special counters for transporting tourists was arranged.
- Changing the platforms of trains at the last minute was not a good idea. The railways should have realised that doing so will result in a stampede. To counter the rush, the state government’s help could have been taken and special buses brought in to take away tourists from outside the railway stations of Allahabad and Prayag.
What could have been a billion dollar money spinner for the government and the state of UP became the tragedy of the decade for the country.
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