Railways blames UP govt for stampede

Railways blames UP govt for stampede

Over 2 lakh people had gathered at the station

Railways blames UP govt for stampede

The Railway Ministry has blamed the Uttar Pradesh government for Sunday’s stampede at Allahabad station.

The ministry apparently failed to anticipate and subsequently manage the huge rush in a short span. Besides, the huge sum of money spent for the Mahakumbh preparations did not help much either.

“The UP government did not inform us of the transport strike which caused an unexpected rush at the station,” said a senior Railways official.

“Had they informed us and discussed the situation, we would have prepared to manage the crowd in the station area. When the crowd was more than what the city could accommodate, districts officials should have stopped them from coming to the station. But it allowed them to gather and did not bother to manage them.”

The Railways officials claimed that over 2 lakh people had gathered around the station which can accommodate only 40,000 people.

The officials denied any communication gap between the Railways and the state government and claimed that they were in regular touch and had several meetings.

The ministry claimed to have made arrangements to counter the extra rush on the eve of “Mauni Amavasya.” “We had sent 1,880 extra coaches to the three stations in Allahabad - Allahabad junction, Jhusi and Naini. It could make 100 trains. This was in addition to the 168 trains we are regularly running. We ran 61 trains on Sunday,” he explained. The three railway zones were assigned to manage different stations.

“We successfully tackled the Makar Sankranti rush on January 14 and another rush on January 26. We were prepared for the crowd,” claimed Railways spokesperson Anil Saxena. 

However, the officials were unable to state the reasons behind the accident, despite deployment of additional security and CCTV monitoring. The Railways spent money in developing infrastructure in and around the stations. The money was spent on approach roads, over bridges and escalators. Besides, money was also spent on training security personnel.

Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal also blamed the huge rush for the incident. “It was not possible to accommodate a large number of devotees, who reached the railway station,” Bansal told reporters before leaving for Allahabad. He was accompanied by Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal.

He announced Rs 1 lakh compensation to the kin of the deceased, Rs 50,000 to those critically injured and Rs 25,000 to those who sustained injuries. This was in addition to the compensation announced by the prime minister.

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