Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Amritsar Train Accident: Everyone failed Punjab victims

An angry crowd shouts slogans beside the body of a victim of the train accident near Amritsar India An angry crowd shouts slogans beside the body of a victim of the train accident near Amritsar India
Ellis Copeland | 21 October, 2018, 19:56

Refusing to assign any blame, Lohani, who visited the spot at midnight, said that the national transporter has been carrying out campaigns exhorting people not to trespass. "We have staff at level crossings whose job is to regulate traffic", he said, explaining why the railways was not alerted about the congregation by its staff.

Media reports said there were 61 dead. At least 60 people were admitted to hospital with injuries.

An angry crowd shouts slogans beside the body of a victim of the train accident near Amritsar, India.

R.C. Yadav, former chairman of Punjab state's Workers Welfare Board, said that numerous 60 killed and dozens injured when a speeding train ran over a crowd celebrating the Hindu festival of Dussehra on Friday night had left their families in neighboring states to work in factories and shops in Punjab. He also said that if the driver had applied emergency brakes, there could have been a bigger tragedy.

Following the accident, people rushed to the site and shouted at railway officials for not taking precautions.

An eyewitness said no alarm was raised when the train was approaching and blamed the administration. He said the railways was not at fault.

The death toll, according to local officials could reach 100.

"We're not kept in the loop and we provided no permission for the event".

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh expressed shock at the incident and directed district authorities have been directed to take up relief and rescue operations on a war footing, ANI tweeted.

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But the dhobi ghat of the posh Golden Avenue colony that lies beside the railway track can not accommodate even 500 people.

"My government will give Rs. 5 lakh to kin of each deceased and free treatment to injured in government and private hospitals", he tweeted.

"I've been seeing this event every Dusshera from here and this has never happened before, the railways should have stopped or slowed down the train", said Deep Kumari, who watched the festival from the terrace of her house.

The Press Trust of India news agency said two trains arrived from opposite directions on separate tracks, giving little opportunity for people to escape.

India's huge railway network is notorious for accidents, including scores who die while crossing the tracks illegally or falling off over-capacity trains.

The Madan family members were the main organisers of the Dussehra event where the train accident took place. Many killed were migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

The Punjab and Railway Police questioned the driver of the train. Police sources said that the organisers had gone underground.

She added, "You have seen the live videos of people standing and recording videos".

Railway minister Piyush Goyal returned early from a trip to the United States to go to Amritsar on Saturday.

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