Amritsar: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh ordered a magisterial inquiry under the leadership of Commissioner of Police over the tragic Amritsar train accident, in which 59 people were mowed by a speeding DMU during Ravan Dahan in Choura Bazar near Joda Phatak area, while seeking a report within four weeks.
Briefing the media, he said that the identities of most deceased have been ascertained except for nine. “59 people killed and 57 people were injured in the incident. We will try that postmortem of the bodies are done as soon as possible,” he added. Singh also ordered an immediate release of Rs 3 crore to the District Collector of Amritsar for payment of ex-gratia to the families of the deceased. Earlier in the day, he had visited the injured persons admitted to hospitals across the district. (ALSO READ – Amritsar Train Accident Should Not be Politicised, Says Sidhu; 37 Trains Cancelled, 16 Diverted)
Meanwhile, Minister of State (Railways) Manoj Sinha on Saturday said that the Indian Railways should not be held responsible for Amritsar train accident. Asking about what should Railway Ministry order an inquiry, he asserted that ‘trains travel in speed only’. His statement came a few hours after the Northern Railway’s Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) Deepak Kumar ascertained that the preliminary questioning conducted with the driver does not hold him guilty. “A loco pilot has the responsibility of all the passengers travelling in the train. Deploying immediate brake in a speeding train can endanger the lives of thousands of people travelling in it,” Kumar had said.
“People should restrain from organising such events near tracks in future. Drivers are given specific instructions on where to slow down. There was a curve, driver couldn’t have seen it. About what should we order an inquiry? Trains travel in speed only,” he said while speaking to ANI.
Furthermore, Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani said it would be wrong to say that the Railways is responsible for the tragic incident, adding that people need to be more alert. “It would be wrong to say that Railways is responsible for this accident. There are two manned level-crossing on that track, both were close. It is the main line. There is no speed restriction there. The Railway administration was not informed about the Dussehra celebration near mainline. People were watching Dussehra celebrations from railway tracks. People need to be more alert; they must not trespass on railway tracks,” he said.
On Friday, a large number of people were witnessing the burning of Ravana effigy while standing along the railway tracks when a Jalandhar to Amritsar DMU train crushed them near Joda Phatak area.
Punjab CM has announced a compesation of Rs 5 lakh to families of deceased whereas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to families of those killed in the Amritsar train tragedy.