Godavari fete stampede fails to prompt officials to get ready.
Rajahmundry: The state government seems to have learnt no lesson from the tragic death of 28 devotees in a stampede during the inauguration of Godavari Maha Pushkaralu held in last July as it fails to make arrangements for conduct of Godavari Antya Pushkaralu scheduled to be held from July 31 to August 11.
It is only the Godavari River which is having such a unique tradition for conduct of Antya Pushkaralu. This fete marks symbolic closure of Godavari Maha Pushkaralu held a year ago and beginning of Pushkaralu for Krishna River. Antya Pushkaralu will be held for 12 days and their closure marks beginning of Krishna Pushkaralu from August 12 onwards.
As the state government strengthened the infrastructure like bathing ghats, connecting roads and other amenities at the ghats located on either side of Godavari river mainly in Rajahmundry, Kovvur, Narasapuram and other areas in Godavari districts in the last Maha Pushkaralu, devotees will arrive again to the same ghats to perform rituals.
Karnataka-based Harihara Pura Adi Sankaracharya Sarada Lakshmi Nrusimha Peetam almanac writer Upadrashta Krishnamurthy said, “As Godavari River finds its source of origin from the head of Lord Shiva, it is a very sacred river. When Jupiter enters Leo, Godavari Pushkaralu will be held and when Jupiter enters Virgo, Krishna Pushkaralu will be held. After conduct of Godavari Pushkaralu, nearly three crores of deities will stay in Godavari River for a year and it is for this reason, Antya Pushkaralu have to be held.”
“Devotees who performed rituals in Godavari Maha Pushkaralu are supposed to perform the same rituals in Antya Pushkaralu in Godavari River anywhere as per their convenience in order to get divine blessing. It is good for them to participate and get Punyam.”
Some devotees who failed to turn up at Godavari Maha Pushkaralu will find their way for Antya Pushkaralu while some who took part in Godavari Pushkaralu plan to take part in Krishna Pushkaralu giving a miss to Antya Pushkaralu. On the other hand, the state government is making no arrangements at present to hold the fete ensuring safety to devotees. Except that East Godavari Collector H. Arun Kumar called for a brief meeting on Antya Pushkaralu held recently in Rajahmundry, there is no initiative on plan of action for conduct of fete hassle-free.
The municipal corporation wants to play big role in making arrangements and host the fete. Lack of co-ordination between civic body and officials is also one of the reasons for delay in making arrangements. Rajahmundry Mayor P. Rajani Sesha Sai said, “We want to involve the corporators and local elders who witnessed such fetes earlier while making arrangements for the fete. In Maha Pushkaralu held last year, we missed the local initiative resulting in tragedy.”
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