Modi blames Centre for Pavagadh stampede

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Vadodara, Oct 14 (UNI) Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today blamed the Centre for the stampede in the Pavagadh Maha Kali temple, which claimed lives of 11 devotees.

Mr Modi, who visited the victims at the Halol Referal Hospital along with two of his senior cabinet colleagues Ashok Bhatt and Amit Shah, said the incident could have been avoided had the Union Forest Department approved the state government's proposal to widen the approach road and steps to the temple atop the Pavagadh hills.

''We have made the proposal in writing to the concerned department seeking its approval but there was no response from their end despite our several reminders,'' the Chief Minister alleged.

Stating that the approach steps to the temple atop the Pavagadh hill were too narrow to accommodate the rush of devotees during the festival time like Navratri, he urged the Union Forest Department to immediately give the necessary clearance for the use of its land for the proposed road expansion project.

Mr Modi, who has sanctioned Rs one lakh each as compensation to the families of the 11 deceased devotees, said his government had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the stampede and action would be taken on the basis of the report.

The Chief Minister met the victims at the hospital and consoled their family members.

UNI

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