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VIP visits keep Meerut busy
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | April 11, 2006 21:59 IST
Last Updated: April 12, 2006 02:48 IST
Tuesday remained packed with VIP visits to Meerut, where an uncontrollable blaze at a consumer fair on Monday, took a toll of 50.
With Congress President Sonia Gandhi taking the lead by visiting the scene of the disaster in the morning itself, other political leaders promptly followed course.
Close on her heels came Bahujan Samaj Party president and Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, who demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the disaster.
Chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, was the next one to reach and promptly declare a judicial inquiry. "The inquiry will be carried out by a sitting High Court judge", he announced at a press conference in Meerut where angry mobs hooted and booed him to such an extent that he was forced to make a retreat from the scene of the fire."
Bhartiya Janata Party chief Rajnath Singh made a detour from his 'yatra' to mark his attendance in Meerut later in the day. The VIP visits kept most officials so busy that none was available to provide any detailed update about the ground situation – be it the number of dead or injured.
Meanwhile, raising anti-government slogans, protestors blocked roads and staged demonstrations against what they termed as, "official neglect and apathy towards public safety."
What agitated them most was the fact that while granting permission to the organisers for putting up the five-day consumer fair in a public park, the district administration had not cared to see whether necessary fire security norms were observed or not.