Amritsar train tragedy: 71 trains disrupted, CM visits injured in hospital, orders inquiry

Following the accident the Northern Railways has temporarily cancelled or short terminated or diverted 71 trains on this track. Punjab CM visited Amandeep Hospital where injured have been admitted

IANS Photo
IANS Photo

Bipin Bhardwaj

The tragic train accident during Dussehra celebrations in Amritsar on Friday evening has hit railway service. Following the accident the Northern Railways has temporarily cancelled or short terminated or diverted 71 trains on this track.

According to Deepak Kumar, Chief Public Relation Officer, Northern Railways, due to the unfortunate incident on Manawala-Amritsar section, on Friday evening, Mail Express and Passenger trains have been affected. As many as 16 trains have been diverted, 10 Mail Express and 27 Passengers trained were cancelled, 10 Mail Express and two passengers were put of short terminations while six Mail Express have been put under short origination.

He clarified that the level cross from where the train crossed has an inter-locking system and the question of giving him green signal by the gate man does not arise.

As per the Railways records, the death toll is 58 while 13 are critically injured and 35 sustained minor injuries, claimed Deepak Kumar ruling out the claims of local people that similar accident had occurred on the same railway track at this spot two years ago.

Meanwhile, the Punjab and Railway Police have questioned the driver of train that crushed at least 60 people to death and left over 72 injured while they were watching ‘Ravana Dehan’ in Jora Park from a railway track in Amritsar on Friday evening.

The Punjab police say that the driver was detained at Ludhiana railway station and was questioned regarding the mishap. It is learnt that the driver claimed to have received a green signal and had no idea about massive public gathered on the railway tracks to view ‘Ravana Dehan’ in the park.

Eyewitnesses revealed that though the event was organised in a park that was packed to the capacity and was sharing its boundary wall with railway lines yet scores of onlookers assembled at the elevated railway track to have a better view of the burning of Ravana’s effigy.

As the fireworks went off, there was a huge noise of cracker busting and hence the onlookers could not hear the nose of the train and were crushed down under the speeding train, an eyewitness revealed.

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the Amritsar train accident, “We are announcing a magisterial probe into the incident," Capt. Amarinder Singh said while talking to media persons in Amritsar on Saturday afternoon.

He said four weeks have been given to submit the report to find out who was at fault. The divisional commissioner of Jalandhar has been entrusted with the job of holding the inquiry, CM said.

After landing at the Amritsar airport, Amarinder Singh reached the accident site. He met senior officials and members of the crisis management group and took stock of the relief work.He was accompanied by Health Minister Brahm Mohindra, Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, Education Minister O P Soni, Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, and others leaders.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also visited Amandeep Hospital in Amritsar where injured have been admitted after the train accident. The Chief Minister was accompanied by Punjab Congress President and Gurdaspur MP Sunil Jakhar, He immediately held a meeting with senior officers of the district administrations, cabinet ministers and Congress legislators. The officers briefed him about the whole tragedy and the number of deaths and injuries.

With IANS inputs.

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Published: 20 Oct 2018, 1:38 PM