Under a new plan formulated by city officials, the number of people allowed in Bihariji temple will be strictly limited. The plan, which is still being finalized, will see the deployment of 40 police officers in the temple in addition to the temple’s private security.
DM Sarvagyaram Mishra and SSP Prabhakar Chaudhary met yesterday to discuss plans for crowd control in the temple. District Magistrate Sarvagyaram Mishra said that the aim of the meeting was to find a solution that will enable people to have darshan of Banke Bihari without being pushed by the crowd. Senior Superintendant of Police, Prabhakar Chaudhary, said that, under the plan, entrance to the temple will be from Gate 3 and the exit will be from Gate number 2. He said that a traffic plan is also being discussed and that e-rickshaws will be provided to transport visitors from the carpark to the entrance of the temple.
Under the plan, crowds will be monitored and when guards see that the temple has reached maximum capacity, visitors will be stopped at the entrance. After taking darshan, people will be instructed to make their way out of the temple and those waiting at the entrance will be allowed in.
On weekends and festivals, the chaos in Bihariji reaches the point that the old, weak and women with children are afraid of entering the temple. There have been several serious incidents caused by ‘stampedes’ including one incident in 2012 in which more a dozen people were hospitalized after being crushed by the crowd.
There has been much discussion about crowd control, however, as yet, no permanent plan has been set in place. One solution that was proposed was increasing darshan timings, however, this idea met with opposition from Goswamis and local leaders who felt that it was in violation of the tradition of worship established by temple founder Swami Shri Haridas.