Importance of Pilgrim Safety Management

via Dr M V Soundararajan published on October 25, 2008

Dr M V Soundarajan Presented paper on Pilgrim Safety Management24/10/2008 at the First World Congress on Disaster Management:

 Stampedes were included as one of the Themes in the World Congress on Disaster Management coming under Human- made Disasters.

There is an urgent need for a concerted effort on Crowd management at Religious Congregations after the worst experiences in many temples in our Country.

A stampede is a human-made crowd disaster. It can be prevented by simple measures that avert the build-up of critical crowd densities and the triggering of sudden and rapid group movement.

The tragedies at Haj, Kumbh Melas, Kanaka Durga Temple, Puri Jagannath Temple, Mandra Devi, Naina Devi, and recently at Chamunda Devi temple in Jodhpur, in which over thousands of people have died, bears a close similarity to other temple stampedes. The time has come for us so that serious lessons are learnt from the pattern of temple stampedes.

 It is vitally important to regulate pilgrim movement in all shrines that attract large numbers of people. Such regulation must include marking out clear entry and exit routes; placing checks on the momentum of the flow of people; installing effective public address systems to advise the pilgrims and calm them in situations of panic; and deploying enough police personnel to keep a watch on the movement of the crowd.

Haj pilgrimages have also been periodically marred by stampedes, with the last one killing 345 people in 2006. In response; the Saudi Arabian government introduced a slew of measures, including a quota system to keep worshippers at a manageable level.

The Tirumala Temple and Vaishno Devi temples have intelligent systems for limiting the number of pilgrims who can visit on any given day.

While crowd control mechanisms are important, the most effective protection against stampedes is ensuring that the crowd density is manageably low. This applies to all shrines but especially to those vulnerable to stampedes because of an overall lack of space or the steepness or narrowness of approaches and exits.

There is a need to have a Crowd Safety Audit for all the Temples and religious places where there is scope for a large congregation.

In Chilkur Balaji Temple, have been implementing these systems effectively and have been able to have safe visit for devotees.

For More Information Contact : +91-98851 00614


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