Over 2,000 swimmers and 60 emergency motor boats will be deployed along the Kshipra river during the month-long Simhastha Mela to safeguard nearly 15 to 20 lakh devotees who are expected to immerse themselves in the sacred river every day, officials with the state government said.
Kshipra River originates in the Vindhya Range from a hill called Kakri Badi, nearly 11 km from Indore.
Speaking to HT, Simhastha Mela officer and Ujjain municipal commissioner Avinash Lavania said that 990 homeguards and 11,00 trained swimmers — all of them volunteers — will be deployed along the Kshipra river in Ujjain during the event. Five teams of experts had trained around 200 swimmers from 12 districts of the state at Ujjain’s Triveni Ghat recently, he said.
“Though devotees will be taking holy dips at various points along the eight-km stretch of Kshipra river in Ujjain, the concentration of the devotees will be primarily on a four-km stretch. We will deploy more swimmers and safety experts on this particular stretch,” said Lavania.
He also pointed out that though the water level in Kshipra was not very high at present, it will increase when water from Narmada river is fully released. “Besides erecting barricades at all the ghats, we have ensured that the depth of the places where devotees take holy dips remains around 1.2 to 1.4 metres. This will ensure that devotees from most age brackets go about their rituals without the fear of the water level increasing,” he said.
Divisional commissioner Ravindra Pastor told HT that during the Simhastha Mela, around 60 emergency motor boats will be deployed to handle emergencies and monitor the proceeedings. “Of the 60 emergency boats, 40 will be of home guards. An additional 20 boats will be contributed by the state disaster management authority and the national disaster management authority,” he said.