The Godavari Maha Pushkaram 2015 in Andhra Pradesh State - A study on good practices and gap analysis of a mass gathering event
Volume : 4
Issue : 2
Online ISSN : 2394-2738
Print ISSN : 2394-272X
Article First Page : 58
Article End Page : 62
Introduction: The Godavari River’s Mahapushkaram observed from 14th to 25th July, 2015 drew upto 10 lakh people to Rajahmundry city and neighboring towns. Due to the flocking of such masses, many problems were anticipated; traffic congestion, poor sanitation, air pollution due to vehicles, water pollution etc. There was also an increased need for proper food, milk and water. An effective mass management plan requires an assessment of the current system’s capacity and understanding of hazards and risks. A review of such events can enlighten us with good practices and identify gaps which can be addressed in future such events.
Materials and Method: This qualitative study involved PRA techniques like transect walk on all the days and interaction with key informants and in depth interviews with officials, workers and pilgrims. Preparations made for the Pushkaram, good practices and gaps in the arrangements were observed and noted. The information was transcribed in MS word and identified themes are presented.
Results and Discussion: Observations regarding planning, facilities, food and water, sanitation, communication, transport, crowd flow, security and safety revealed many good practices. However many gaps were also identified. On the first day a stampede took place at pushkar ghat with 29 people losing their lives. The stampede that took place revealed several lacunae in preparedness for mass casualty incidents.
Conclusion: The state has a responsibility to make sure that adequate arrangements are made to meet the large inflow of pilgrims. Accommodation, food, water and sanitation needs were adequately met with good public private coordination. Lacunae were; need for better traffic regulations and diversions, addressing basic needs of people stuck in traffic for long hours and an emergency evacuation system in case of untoward incidents. On site health outposts must be of a reasonably higher level to manage causalities.
Keywords: Mass gathering event, Pushkaram, Good practices, Stampede