Himachal Pradesh to formulate policy on managing shrines

August 21st, 2008 - 8:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Aug 21 (IANS) Eighteen days after the Naina Devi stampede in which 145 people lost their lives, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Thursday directed the officials to formulate a policy on managing religious shrines so that no tragedy like the hilltop temple stampede recurs in the state.Presiding over the state temple committee meeting here, he said the devotees should be only allowed to enter a temple in batches and there should be separate entry and exit points.

He stressed the need to strengthen the communication system within the temple complex in order to monitor the situation properly.

After the Naina Devi stampede earlier this month, the state government had decided to follow the pattern of the Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir under which worshippers are allowed to proceed in batches only after registering themselves.

This exercise was done in 1999 by erstwhile chief executive officer of the Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Anil Goswami, on the request of Dhumal.

Goswami had submitted a report to the government after studying various shrines but nothing has been done to regulate the movement of pilgrims so far.

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