Ujjain: Seven persons were killed and nearly 100 others were injured as a few welcome arches and a large number of makeshift tents erected for the pilgrims attending the Simhasth here came crashing down when the city of Mahakal was pounded by thunderstorm and heavy rain this evening.
The rescue operations were continuing late tonight and authorities said that the casualty figure may rise.
Ujjain Divisional Commissioner Ravindra Pastaur confirmed the death toll. Shortly thereafter the official list carrying the names of those who have died or have been injured was also released to the media.
A woman pilgrim, who has not been identified, was killed in Undasa area when lightning struck her. Others who have died, have been identified as Amba Bai, Prahlad, Rumal Kaur, Bhagdiram, Bhuti Bai and Dhapu Bai
Authorities fear that the death toll may rise as the rescuers are clearing the collapsed tents and pulling out the people trapped under them.
Due to torrential rain, a sewer at Ramghat started overflowing into the Kshipra river. People were not prepared for this as the State Government has spent Rs. 3500 crore on building facilities for the month-long Simghasth festival.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had praised earlier today the arrangements made by the State Givernment for Simhasth.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each to the kin of the deceased persons and Rs 50,000 to seriously injured and Rs 25,000 to the minor injured. Chouhan would visit Ujjain tomorrow to take stock of the situation.