Stampede of Nashik Kumbh 2003_ A Case Study

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STAMPEDE OF NASHIK KUMBH IN 2003: LESSONS LEARNT Sudhir Rathod Assistant Professor, Centre for Disaster Management , Yashada, Pune [email protected] 9423601109

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This is a case study of Stampede in Nashik Kumbh of 2003

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  • STAMPEDE OF NASHIK KUMBH IN 2003: LESSONS LEARNT Sudhir Rathod Assistant Professor, Centre for Disaster Management , Yashada, Pune [email protected] 9423601109
  • KUMBH MELA Mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith, Held every third year by rotation at Haridwar, Allahabad (Prayaga), Nashik and Ujjain. Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river. Around 10 million people visited out of which 5 million people visited on second shahisnan parvani in last Nashik Kumbh in 2003 Next Kumbh Mela would be held at Nashik in July to August 2015. Kumbh Mela and Crowd Disasters 1892 Mela at Haridwar - Outbreak of Cholera 1954 Prayag Kumbh -Stampede, 500 dead 2003 Nashik Sinhasta Kumbh Stampede, 29 dead. 2013 Allahabad Kumbh - Stampede the railway station 36 dead
  • NASHIK KUMBH MELA IN 2003 The period - 30th July 2003 to 27th August 2004. Special significance to the three Parvani, Shahisnan days Three Parvani days in 2003, 17th August, 27th August, 1st September Vaishnav sect Sadhus & devotees take holy dip in the waters of Godavari at Ramkund of Nashik City Shiva sect sadhus & devotees at Kushavart of Tryambakeshwar, 30 kms from Nashik. Akhadas & Khalsas Nashik 3 Akhadas about 800 khalsas Shree Digambar, Shree Nirmohi and Shree Nirvani Akhadas Each Khalsa is a group of 50 to 500 sadhus
  • SPECIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF NASHIK KUMBH Kumbh in Monsoon Unlike other Kumbh Melas, the Kumbh at Nashik is held in the monsoon Average rainfall at Tryambakeshwar is above 2000 mm. Nashik city is 700 mm. overall district 2600 mm Probability floods due to Gangapur dam water release , 10 kms from city Space Availability Very limited space for Kumh Mela Location for holy dip (Shahisnan) is in locality and the space for bathe is comparatively very less. Sadhugram established where space and facilities like water, sewage are provided to Akhadas. No Camps for pilgrims Pilgrims come before 48 hours in Nashik only on three Parvanis , holy bath days No camp established or no space is provided, More than 50 lakh floating population of pilgrims for a day
  • SADHUGRAM TO RAMKUND TRADITIONAL PROCESSION ROUTE through densely populated city, very narrow and sloppy, slippery and in monsoon after rain becomes more slippery, Sadhus, Akhadas come with Elephants, Camels, Horses and Jeeps Many entry points where lakhs of pilgrims stand watching sadhus and waiting for holy dip in Ramkund and in other kunds and ghats near Ramkund. Many Pressure points Less holding areas and release areas, challenging for Police and administration to make fool proof arrangement.
  • PREPARATIONS FOR SINHASTHA KUMBH 2003 Planning started in Dec 1999 Planning department was coordinating dept at state level. DM held meetings with local Purohit Sangh, Sadhu Mahants Various committees formed at State & District level 4 committees at state level & 11 sub committees at district level Apart from committees , Senior officers took reiew meetings State Sanctioned 459.03 crore plan for Kumbh Sinhastha Kumbh cell created with additional collector & Dy collector, 2 clerks
  • PREPARATIONS- STRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENTS Ramkund area Extension 378 sq mtr extended to 1450 sq mtr So every 5 minutes 2000 sadhus can take holy dip, in hour 24000 sadhus Additional Ghats 1.3 km long ghat was concretized leading total 2.1 km of ghat(63000 sq mtr) New Procession Route 18 km long new procession route was constructed on the left bank of Godavari as the existing route was very narrow, sloppy and congested.
  • Katya maruti chowk Nag chowk Sardar chowk Tapovan Ram Kund
  • POLICE DEPT PREPARATIONS FOR CROWD MANAGEMENT Detailed plan for deployment of police personnel, resources & Barricading were drawn up for crowd management 450 officers, 5500 police force, 8 SRPF companies 22168.50 meters barricading on 9 routes 10 watch towers 10 barracks 10 temporary police stations, 20 temporary police chowkies. 87 vehicles
  • FIRST PARVANI ON 17TH AUGUST, 2003 AT NASHIK Passed off without any incident. inordinate time taken by Akhadas. Procession ended at 4.45 p.m. exceeding 5.45 hours by the agreed time of 11 a. m. Delay led to restlessness amongst pilgrims After 1.00 p.m., Pilgrims uprooted the barricades erected on the way to the bathing site at Ramkund Police and local administration had to permit the pilgrims to bathe in the portion of the Ramkund which was not being used by the sadhus while the Shahisnan of the sadhus was going on.
  • PREPARATIONS FOR SECOND PARVANI DM reported to ACS (Home) apprehending a stampede during the second Parvani ACS Planning Secret note to Chief Secretary Numbers of review meetings held. Dy CM & Home minister, CP, DM Meeting with the sadhus and Mahants of Akhadas on procession time from7 10 a.m. ADG, (Law & Order) demi-official letter to CP Police Bandobast plan was revised More force was stationed at barricades. Barricades were strengthened and their heights increased.
  • SECOND SHAHI PARVANI ON 27TH AUGUST Procession of the sadhus of three Akhadas was over by 11.00 a.m. Decision taken by the police to permit pilgrims to use the Shahi Marg to go for taking the holy dip. Till 12 noon there was no major problem along the Shahimarg.
  • BUILDUP OF THE CROWD On the shahimarg -Kalaram Mandir via Sardar Chowk to the bathing ghat Three factors Pressure of people at various points demanding to be allowed to go for bath. Sudden flow of people moving in reverse direction who had taken their bath conflicting with the massive flow of pilgrims Sadhus from the Chatursampradaya Khalsa with elephants & Jeep allowed to move in procession with pilgrims even after the cessation of the morning procession. Boycotted by Akhadas, they used procession route after shahi procession was over.
  • SMALL INCIDENT & DOMINO EFFECT All it needed was some small incident, which saw aged pilgrims, particularly older women lose their footing and fall on the ground. Had Domino effect with more pilgrims stumbling and falling on those who had fallen earlier. The dense crowd was not aware underfoot getting trampled and losing their lives in the suffocation that followed. 29 Dead.
  • NUMBER OF SADHUS AND DEVOTEES PARTICIPATED (NUMBERS IN LAKHS) Sr No Parvani Holy Dip Day 1991-92 2003-04 Sadhus Devotees Sadhus Devotees Vehicles Animals 1 First Parvani 0.40 10.00 1.00 35.00 284 06 Elphnt 02 horse 2 Second Parvani 0.60 15.00 1.50 50.00 157 04 Elphnt 02 camels 3 Third Parvani 0.50 10.00 1.20 35.00 232 06 Elphnt 04 horse
  • CAUSES Structural causes. Narrow, sloppy, slippery route Limited space for bath Communication gap between agencies No effective command & control Irresponsible crowd behavior (reverse flow, even Sadhus) Poor crowd control -Inability of the police to halt the reverse flow and enforce the prohibitory orders
  • LESSONS LEARNT Lack of Coordination among different government departments. Need of Project Based Approach Need of effective integrated Plan with Risk Assessment. Command & control Application of IRS &EOC Use of Technology Structural development Need of Training Public Awareness & Media Strict implementation of existing legal provisions
  • LACK OF COORDINATION AMONG DIFFERENT GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS. Officers EGOs, blame game, no coordinated efforts, DM, MNC, CP All Planning through DM CP & MNC Commissioner senior to DM Co-ordination gap between Police officers & sector Magistrate before incident Departmental approach / Compartmentalization E.g CCTV, Barricading
  • NEED OF PROJECT BASED APPROACH Mela Administrator, Senior IAS, PS officers ACS, ADG are given responsibility to supervise before one/two months With no financial or administrative powers, role of advisor/ in case report to Govt Principal Secretary/ADG rank officer with authority Appointment before two years In 2003, Sinhastha cell, only 2 revenue officers, no technical staff Delegation of authority Once the plan is sanctioned, power of administrative approval to the administrator
  • NEED OF EFFECTIVE INTEGRATED PLAN Integrated Plan with Risk Assessment Lack of Anticipation and assessment, Crowd, Behavior Identification of Hazards, Size & Diversity of population Prioritization of works Resource management, spending only on relevant works Identifying Choke points, Holding Areas, pressure points, Barricading plan Contingency Plans for meeting emergency situations
  • 0 50 100 150 200 250 Sanction Plan of Rs. 459 Crore Expenditure Sinhastha 2003 Proposed expenditure
  • Sanction Plan of Expenditure Sinhastha 2003 MNC MSEDCL MJP PWD DHO CS Police City Police Rural Tryambakeshwar MSRTC Forest Archeology Information off Collector off contigency Saptshrungi NH bot ZP other additional infrastructure
  • APPLICATION IRS Management tool, system for event management or for emergency response Integrating independent agencies Unified command System Clear chain of authority, Accountability Systematic planning process Well thought pre-designated roles Effective resource management
  • EOC- EMERGENCY OPERATION CENTRE Setting up of integrated EOC- now dept wise control rooms Effective Communications Information / Intelligence management- Gathering Analyzing, Acting ,On time Decision making Coordination with IRT & different agencies Operational control
  • USE OF TECHNOLOGY CCTV- Close circuit Television Camera, no CCTV in 2003 Integrated Communication Electronic Display Boards GIS based system PA system
  • STRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT Shahi procession route widening In development plan the road is shown 9 meters wide, opposition in implementation, need of relocation, costly affair Additional bathing ghats reducing crowd density Make other areas and ghats available to pilgrims so that at the time of shahi snan, simultaneously they would take holy dip in Godavari near ramkund
  • NEED OF TRAINING Training on Crowd management with communication skills to all involved personnel, response teams Training Local volunteers, citizens and organizations who have an active role to play in crowd management. IRS, EOC trainings Rehearsals of emergency response scenarios, Mock drills, functional exercise
  • PUBLIC AWARENESS & MEDIA I & B department no proactive role played in public awareness Kumbh 2003 information broachers received after kumbh was over No answers to contradictory statements and complaints in print media Need of Public education Awareness campaigns, Signage, pamphlets , Boards, Flex etc. Pilgrims route should be decided much earlier. With signage & direction boards, publicity. Media-effective medium to educate people
  • STRICT IMPLEMENTATION OF EXISTING LEGAL PROVISIONS No Mela Act in Maharashtra like United Provinces Mela Act 1938, and rules thereof in 1940 Provisions of Bombay Police Act, 1951, Maharashtra Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPc) are sufficient to handle & manage mass gathering events. Notifications not followed Only Strict implementation of existing legislation is required. Now Disaster Management Act 2005
  • REFERENCES 1 Collector Office Nashik, 2004, Mela Administrative Report 2 Ramani V., 14th Feb 2006, Magisterial Enquiry into the sequence of events leading to the stampede deaths during the second Parvani (Shahisnan) at the KumbhMela, Nasik on 27th August 2003 3 SomanC.and Jayaswal S. September 2013 Position Paper on Crowd Management at Places of Mass Gatherings , IIM Ahmedabad .