MUMBAI: A petition has been filed in the Bombay high court by the Hindu Janajagruti Samit with regards to ensure that there are proper safety features at the grand Kumbh Mela which will be held in Nashik in July 2015. In the earlier Kumbh Mela held in 2003, 29 devotees had lost their lives while 118 were injured in a stampede.
Matter came up for hearing on November 7 before the bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Burgess Colabawalla. The bench ordered Central Government, State Government and Nashik Municipal Corporation to file their say in this regard. Next hearing will be held on December 15.
Due to lack of advanced preparations and pre-planning, the tragic stampede had occurred in 2003 at the Nashik venue. Nearly 50 lakh devotees had visited Kumbh Mela in 2003. This number may well be much higher in 2015, since the religious event is held only once in 12 years.
A press release of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti stated that for the advance preparation for Kumbh Mela in the year 2003, government had planned to acquire about 300 acres of land for the accommodating sages, saints, akhadas and devotees, and process to reserve the land around Nashik area for this purpose was in progress. However, only 58 acres of land could be acquired.
The Government has taken no action in this misappropriation nor initiated any steps to acquire the necessary land. While the administrative budget to conduct Kumbh Mela in the appropriate manner was for Rs 4,105 crores, not a single rupee was allotted by the union government,” said a Samiti spokesperson.
He added that Hindu Janajagruti Samiti was forced to file petition in the high court in order to pressurize Central and State Governments to fulfill their responsibilities to ensure that Kumbh Mela is conducted properly.