A stampede occurred during the Makar Melarush on the Gopinathpur-Badamba T-bridge over the River Mahanadi in Athagarh in the Cuttack district on Saturday, news agency ANI reported quoting an official.

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During Makar Mela, devotees were on their way to seek blessings at the 7th-century-old Singhanath Temple in Baramba.

More than a dozen minors were hurt during the stampede, according to officials. “One person was killed, nine were injured, and three were referred to another hospital in Cuttack,” said Dr. Ranjan Kumar Barik of Baramba Hospital, ANI reported. 

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed grief over the incident and announced an ex-gratia of ₹ 5 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased.

“The injured people will get free treatment and I wish their speedy recovery,” Patnaik said in a statement.

According to Athagarh Sub-collector Hemanta Kumar Swain, the incident occurred owing to a sudden surge in the number of devotees, including women and children, arriving in the afternoon to attend a fair and pay obeisance to Lord Singhanath, PTI reported. 

According to the district administration, the congregation was large since people had not visited the temple in two years because to the COVID-19 pandemic, as per the report. 

The sub-collector added that devotees from Cuttack, Khordha, Puri, Angul, Dhenkanal, Boudh, and Nayagarh districts had flocked to the shrine in big numbers.

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(With Inputs From Agencies)

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