Amarinder orders probe

Amarinder orders probe

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has ordered an inquiry into the tragic train accident in which dozens were feared dead and injured in Amritsar on Friday evening.

The chief minister, who was scheduled to leave for Israel on Friday evening, has postponed his trip and will fly to Amritsar in the morning to personally assess the damage and meet the families of the victims of the mishap, which occurred during Dussehra festivities.

Initial reports suggest the accident occurred during a stampede as people rushed towards the tracks when crackers were burnt in large numbers during the burning of the Ravana effigy near the tracks. The reports indicate that train crashed through the crowd on the tracks at that time, leading to the tragedy, according to Raveen Thukral, Media Advisor to CM. So far, 40 people have been confirmed dead and many injured. However, the death toll could rise as the relief operations continue, he said.

Additional police forces, led by the DGP, have been rushed to the spot to control the situation in the wake of the mishap.

Acting on the Chief Minister’s directives, Rehabilitation Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and Health Minister Brahm Mohindra have already rushed to Amritsar to supervise the rescue and relief operations. The home secretary and the health secretary, along with DGP Law & Order, have also left for Amritsar.

Extending his sympathies to the families of the deceased, the chief minister has announced immediate ex gratia compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased.