Puri: Srimandir servitors have urged the state government to start preparations for the Nagarjuna Besha of The Trinity scheduled to be held at the sanctum sanctorum November 27, 2020.
The servitors pleaded for adequate safety measures for devotees during the unique ritual, which was organised for the last time November 26, 1994.
However, at least six devotees had died in a stampede on Srimandir premises during the Nagarjuna Besha in November 1993. The state government had constituted a judicial commission to probe the incident. Unfortunately, the report of the judicial panel is yet to be made public.
Senior Daita servitor and Lord Jagannath’s Badagrahi (caretaker) Jagannath Swain Mahapatra claimed that the 12th century shrine witnessed huge rush during the Nagarjuna Besha of deities in 1993 and 1994.
“The population of Odisha has gone up substantially since 1994. We are expecting a huge crowd during the upcoming Nagarjuna Besha. So, the government should leave no stone unturned to ensure a safe darshan for the devotees. Authorities concerned should start preparations for the mega event at the earliest,” he said.
Srimandir Pushpalak Niyog president Ramchandra Singhari blamed managerial lapses for the death of devotees in a stampede in 1993.
“The footfall at Srimandir during Nagarjuna Besha of 1993 was beyond expectation. There were a few lapses by the people involved in managing the event. However, the Nagarjuna Besha of 1994 was organised without any untoward incident. The government has at least two years in hand to make foolproof arrangements for the unique ritual,” Singhari said. Senior Daita servitor Binayak Das Mahapatra too blamed administrative lapses for the stampede at Srimandir during the Nagarjuna Besha of 1993.
“It is very difficult to forget that mishap. The state government should devise a strategy for hassle-free darshan at Srimandir. Authorities should consult temple servitors and officials who had played key roles in the organisation of last Nagarjuna Besha,” he said.