By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, April 2: If you are not strong enough to keep yourself upright and if you have acrophobia, never go to enjoy the afternoon or evening breeze of the Brahmaputra at Shukreshwar Ghat in the city without a safe pair of hands, along with you. The steep slope of the ghat without any handholds is not free from accidents, including fatal ones.
Shukreshwar Ghat in the city is one of the preferred destitions for those who want to stroll in the evening by the bank of the Brahmaputra or sit there and chat about. Youths are also seen sitting and chatting there. This is a pleasant place for the devotees thronging to the temple to spend a few blissful moments.
There are also a section of people who have to go there for performing some sort of filial rituals like shraddha, annual shraddha, tarpan (paying tribute) to the souls of their near and dear ones and the like. Parents and others are also seen crowding the ghat after performing ceremonies of their children like ‘anprasa’ (first rice-eating ceremony).
In so far as safety is concerned, the ghat and its near vertical steps are not free from accidents. What is seen is that the heights of the steps up to the river are abrupt and nearly vertical. They are not friendly for people who are physically weak, old and minor. As if to cap it all, most of the handholds in the ghat are not fit to be used. In most of the cases, the handholds in the ghat have been either uprooted or twisted beyond use. And a larger part of the ghat has no handholds at all. A slip down may prove to be a fatal accident. The other day, this reporter got goosebumps when she saw a few children playing on the steps of the ghat while their parents were busy in some rituals with a priest. A slip may cost them their lives! According to Mandir Committee secretary Joychandra Sarma, repair works for boosting the safety standard of the temple has been a long-due promise. “Five years back, then GDD Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma did promise us that he would release Rs 50 lakh for boosting the safety standard of the parghat. We’re yet to receive the promised amount. We’re not certain if we at all get that amount,” said Joychandra Sarma.