An effective risk reduction mechanism is immediately needed for the unprecedented gathering of devotees for the sacred 'Garudaseva' procession of Lord Venkateswara during the annual Brahmotsavam at nearby Tirumala, a senior police official said here today.
The rush of pilgrims has been increasing every year for the mega event on the hills and has now touched the danger point, putting a question mark on safety of devotees, Tirupati Urban Superintendent of Police R Jayalakshmi told PTI.
She said the recently held Garudaseva had attracted more than three lakh devotees, which was beyond the capacity of Tirumala hills.
The 4,000 strong police faced a tough time till the five hour long procession of Garudaseva ended, with many vulnerable places facing a near stampede like situation, she said.
"The four Mada streets encircling the sprawling complex of the 2,000-year old shrine and other open places on Tirumala hill can logically bear only 1.8 lakh devotees. Any more than that might lead to a major problem for common devotees coming from faraway places and Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) which manages the shrine," the Police chief said.
She said the entire Tirumala hills is filled with pilgrims that day and their vehicles and there is no place left even for an ambulance.
"In years to come the devotee rush for the Brahmotsavam main event Garudaseva is expected to be more than three lakh. That will undoubtedly become very vulnerable and result in unpleasant happenings on the holy place."
To avoid catastrophe in future at the world famous place of worship, TTD should evolve some strong precautionary steps with certain structures and policies without disturbing the sentiments of devotees on Garudaseva day, she said.
Jayalakshmi said they had received some substantial feedback with visual clippings on the recent Garudaseva day, which they would place with a detailed note before DGP N Sambasiva Rao, requesting him to write to the government for necessary action on the matter.
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