Chaos prevailed at the ongoing Simhasta Kumbh Mela here on Monday as high-speed wind and accompanying rain disrupted the smooth conduct of the second 'shahi snan' (royal bath).Many pandals or makeshift tents collapsed due to the inclement weather while scores of others were waterlogged, leading to panic among the pilgrims who ran helter-skelter to save themselves. Many watch towers at the venue were damaged and trees uprooted. However, there was no report of loss of life.A sewer pipe was damaged in the Ramghat area, leading to contamination of the Kshipra waters, which led to anger among hundreds of holy men and pilgrims who have congregated on the river banks for the holy dip.
The pilgrims complained that the sewer had been damaged three days ago and it broke down on Monday just ahead of the 'shahi snan'. The river water was stinking as a result, making their bathing ritual a difficult proposition, they said.The Met department had forecast high-speed wind and rain for Monday but the administration allegedly did not take preventive measures.Weather office director Anupam Kashyapi told reporters here that he had regularly been warning the Ujjain authorities about the weather conditions prior to the outbreak of monsoon.
On May 5, a downpour and accompanying high-speed winds led to collapse of hundreds of temporary structures at the Kumbh site, burying dozens of devotees as hundreds others ran for their lives. At least seven people were later found dead and more than 100 others injured near the banks of Kshipra river, where authorities had claimed to have made "safe" arrangements for up to five crore pilgrims.At that time, the authorities said at least 700 temporary structures had fallen or were blown away.The event on the banks of the Kshipra in this holy city began on April 22 and will continue till May 21.