Railways plan more trains for smooth travel of Pilgrims during Nashik’s Kumbh Mela

Nashik (NK): The railway officials have begun drawing out fresh plans to ensure smooth travel on the return journeys during Kumbh Mela. Nearly one crore pilgrims are expected to arrive in Nashik over two months for the mega religious congregation.

Officials said pilgrims are expected to reach the city and adjoining town of Trimbakeshwar in batches during Kumbh but there is a rush to return after the event. A team of top railway, revenue and district officials met in Mumbai on Monday to chalk out the plans for people management.

District guardian minister Girish Mahajan had called the meeting attended by senior railway officials, revenue commissioner Eknath Davle, municipal commissioner Praveen Gedam, district collector and others. The guardian minister asked the officials to chalk out plans to avoid of the repeat of the Allahabad stampedes in 2013.

On February 10, 2013 when the pilgrims were returning from the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, a stampede broke out killing 36 pilgrims. The administration has been asked to work out plans to prevent such mishaps.

“The railway has a capacity of handling 75,000 passengers. We are expecting around a crore pilgrims for the Kumbh Mela. Around 20% of these are dependent on railways, which means 20 lakh passengers. For this, we need to manage the flow of passengers,” said sources from the railway.

“The guardian minister asked us to work out on how the number of trains and the number of boggies can be increased for crowd management and the infrastructure that can be provided. In the first week of June, railway officials will visit the city to draw the plan,” said Davle.

He said that people come the city in batches but want to return after the Parvani days. “People come from different parts of the country and want to go to different destinations on their return. Evacuation is always difficult when people are in a hurry to leave. Under such circumstances, managing the flow of crowd is very crucial,” he said.