Cuttack: One person was killed and 20 others suffered injuries in a stampede in Cuttack district Saturday. The conditions of four of the injured are stated to be critical. The accident took place as more than a lakh of devotees congregated on BadambaGopinathpur T-Bridge on the occasion of ‘Makar Mela’.
Badamba-Narsinghpur MLA and former minister Debi Prasad Mishra confirmed that one woman, identified as 45-year-old Anjana Swain, died in the accident, while four seriously injured people have been admitted to SCB Medical College Hospital in Cuttack city. Mishra added that the other injured persons are undergoing treatment at the (CHC) in Badamba.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed grief over death of a person in the stampede and announced an ex-gratia of `5 lakh for the family of the deceased. The Chief Minister also instructed all concerned officials to provide free treatment to all the injured persons. “The injured people will get free treatment and I wish their speedy recovery,” Patnaik said in a statement.
Athagarh sub-collector Hemanta Kumar Swain said the incident took place due to a sudden increase in the number of devotees, including women and children, in the afternoon, to visit a fair organised on the occasion and also to pay obeisance to Lord Singhanath.
The district administration said the congregation was massive as people were visiting the temple after a gap of two years due to Covid-19 pandemic. Devotees from Cuttack, Khurda, Puri, Angul, Dhenkanal, Boudh and Nayagarh districts had come to the temple in huge numbers, the sub-collector said.
Locals alleged that the administration was not fully equipped to manage such a large number of devotees. Adequate number of police personnel was not put in place, they alleged. Cuttack (Rural) Additional SP Ranjit Prusty informed that three platoons had been deployed to control the crowd on the bridge. However, no one anticipated that such a huge number of people will turn up at the venue, Prusty added
SCB Medical College and Hospital officials informed that four persons injured in the stampede are undergoing treatment at the Casualty Ward. Doctors of neurology, orthopaedic and other departments have been engaged for their treatment, they said.
Cuttack District collector Bhabani Shankar Chayni said the administration has imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC to prevent overcrowding at the stampede site.