At least one person was killed and 20 others were injured, four of them seriously, in a stampede in Odisha's Cuttack district on Saturday, police said.
The incident took place as a large number of people congregated on Badamba-Gopinathpur T-Bridge on the occasion of Makar Mela, a police officer said.
Badamba-Narsinghpur MLA and former minister Debi Prasad Mishra confirmed that one woman, identified as 45-year-old Anjana Swain, died in the incident, while four seriously injured people were admitted to SCB Medical College Hospital in Cuttack city.
Mishra said other injured persons were admitted to a community health centre (CHC) in Badamba.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed grief over the incident and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased.
"The injured persons will get free treatment and I wish speedy recovery of injured persons," Patnaik said in a statement.
Athagarh Sub-collector Hemanta Kumar Swain said the incident took place due to a sudden increase in the number of devotees, including women and children, in the afternoon to visit a fair organised on the occasion and also to pay obeisance to Lord Singhanath.
The district administration said the congregation was massive as people were visiting the temple after a gap of two years due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Devotees from Cuttack, Khordha, Puri, Angul, Dhenkanal, Boudh and Nayagarh districts had come to the temple in large numbers, the sub-collector said.
Cuttack collector Bhabani Shankar Chayni said he has asked the Athagarh sub-collector to probe the incident.
The collector said the administration had imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC to prevent overcrowding at the stampede site and the temple area.
Narshingha Bhol, Inspector General of Police of Central Range, said the police will investigate how such an incident happened despite prior preparation and deployment of around 100 police personnel to man the crowds.
"We will take measures to prevent the occurrence of such incidents in the future," he said.
Meanwhile, authorities of the SCB Medical College and Hospital have constituted a team to treat the injured persons, hospital emergency officer Dr Bhubananda Maharana.
-With PTI Input