UP to have SOPs for large gatherings to prevent repeat of Hathras-like tragedies, says minister

Permission for events will now require compliance with minimum civic amenities standards, such as sufficient toilets, water supply, and emergency exits, says Asim Arun

Relatives mourn at the residence of victims who died in the recent stampede at the 'satsang' (photo: PTI)
Relatives mourn at the residence of victims who died in the recent stampede at the 'satsang' (photo: PTI)


A day after a stampede in Hathras claimed 121 lives, Uttar Pradesh minister Asim Arun on Wednesday, 3 July said the state government has started work on SOPs for granting permission for large gatherings to prevent such incidents in future.

He said Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has instructed officials to prepare the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and permission for events would be granted only if the "basic, minimum" conditions for amenities are met.

Arun, the minister of state for social welfare, is part of a three-minister committee formed by Adityanath for supervising the relief measures in the aftermath of the stampede.

Explaining how the tragedy unfolded, he said, "It appears sevadars (volunteers) who were managing things inside did something wrong in terms of crowd management and that is another lesson learnt."

"We should not leave it to sevadars or volunteers. They do a great job, of course, but the police and magistrates are more experienced," he said.

So, the chief minister has decided that the state will have a more detailed SOP now for any such gathering, whether it has 1,000 or one lakh people, the minister told PTI.

"It's not just this, it's about civic amenities as well, like how many toilets are required for 80,000 people or how many water tankers should be there and how many escape points should be there," Arun said.

"So, he (CM) has instructed us to make a detailed SOP and all future permissions would be granted only if these amenities are taken care of either by the organisers themselves or by a government agency," he added.

On the negligence on the part of organisers of the Tuesday's satsang, the minister said there were quite a few.

"There was inadequate space for parking and hence a large number of buses were parked on the national highway.

"There should be multiple entry and exit routes and I believe they were only two routes as far as I have seen. So, the organisers could certainly have done better," he said.

He said if it was a smaller gathering or if it was pleasant weather, maybe it would have worked. But yesterday was a sultry day and later it rained.

"I think multiple factors were at play there. We have to improve our processes," he said.

"Whether the government is organising an event or a private person is organising an event, our SOP will be very clear on what kind of basic minimum standards have to be met for us to permit any such events to take place," he added.

In the wake of the stampede, the Hathras police have lodged an FIR in which organisers of the event have been mentioned as accused.

The FIR as well as a preliminary report sent by the sub-divisional magistrate to the district magistrate also mentioned that the crowd swelled at the venue to over 2.50 lakh, much more than the permitted limit of 80,000.

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