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At least 17 people were killed and many others injured in a stampede today at Adalatghat here on the bank of river Ganga during Chhath puja. The stampede occurred when panicked devotees rushed for safety after a make-shift bridge caved in at the ghat.
Seven casualties were reported from Patna Medical College while the corresponding figure at Arvind Hospital and Magadh Hospital stood at five each, an official spokesman said, adding that Principal Secretary (Health) Vyasji has informed this to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Kumar has directed Vyasji to establish contact with all private hospitals and clinics to get details about people undergoing treatment due to injuries sustained during the stampede, the spokesman said.
Chief Secretary Ashok Kumar Sinha, meanwhile, said at a press conference late tonight that hospitals are being contacted to ascertain whether there were any more casualties. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told reporters that advertisements would be published asking people to inform the government if any member of their families has died in the tragedy so that compensation could be provided to them.
Kumar clarified that the deaths took place not because of the cave-in, but due to people rushing out of the steep stairs a temple. People pushed each other and those who fell down were either trampled to death or were injured, the chief minister said. He said the Principal Secretary (Home) would conduct a probe into the tragedy so that those responsible for the tragedy would be brought to book.
The Bihar government would pay a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the family of the deceased, Kumar said. Of the total amount, Rs 1.5 lakh would be given from the disaster management department and the remaining Rs 50,000 would be provided from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund.
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