New Delhi: Union Minister of State (MoS) for Railways Manoj Sinha on Saturday asserted that Amritsar train accident was completely avoidable and the Railways was not at fault.
While stressing that organisers should have realised the danger of holding such events so close to a railway track, Sinha said, “It is not a fault of Railways because the department was not informed of any such event going on at the place. Generally when such events are organised the local administration grants permission but the officials denied giving any such permission for this particular event.”
Elaborating on the issue, he said: “The level-crossing is about 300 meters away from the place of incident. The railway track is at some height and when the Ravan effigy was burnt, people couldn’t hear the horn of the train due to crackers being burnt at the time.”
On being asked about event organisers absconding since the incident, the MoS said, “Law and order is a state government subject. Punjab chief minister has already announced an inquiry into the incident”.
Urging not to politicise the issue, Sinha said: “This is a very unfortunate incident and I believe that politics should not be done on this issue”.
Sinha also endorsed what the Chief PRO, Northern Railways, stated this morning on the circumstances in which the incident had taken place. The MoS said, “Drivers are pre-briefed by the railway authorities about where they have to slow the speed or where to blow a horn. There is a curve at the place of incident and driver might have not seen the people on the track.”
The train accident took place yesterday evening in Choura Bazar near Joda Phatak area of Amritsar after a speeding train, which was coming from Jalandhar and going to Amritsar, ran over people who were watching Dussehra celebrations from the incident spot. As many as 58 people have been declared dead in the accident as of now.