Kolkata/Allahabad: Expressing shock over the stampede that took place at the Allahabad railway station yesterday, Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Saugata Roy on Monday held the Ministry of Railways and the Samajwadi Party (SP) Government in Uttar Pradesh responsible for the unpleasant incident.
Roy said it is very sad and shocking, and added that it denotes a total failure of the railway administration.
"It was known that there will be lot of crowd in Allahabad on the occasion of the bathing on ``Amavasya`` (new moon day). Railways were to provide 150 trains, but they provided only 75 trains. That`s why there was crowding on the platform and it was aggravated by the police lathi charge on the pilgrims. So, it is a total failure," said Roy.
"But unfortunately the Railways Minister was not there, he only shuttles between Delhi and Chandigarh. And the Minister of State for Railways (Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury) is busy in Baharampur breaking the DM``s bungalow. So, it is a failure," he added.
Roy further said it is a failure of the Uttar Pradesh Government because the lathi charge was led by the GRP, which is under the state government.
"They should find out why the police lathi charged in such a crowded platform, creating such a mayhem and the death of how many god knows," he added.
The death toll in the stampede at Allahabad railway station reached 36 today, with 14 more people succumbing to their injuries. The injured are being treated at the railway hospitals and the SRN Hospital in Allahabad.
It is, however, feared that the death toll may go up since the condition of some of the injured is said to be in a critical condition.
The stampede occurred at platforms 5 and where thousands of passengers, mostly Maha Kumbh devotees returning after taking the holy dip at the Sangam, had gathered to board a train.
The preliminary reports said that the stampede broke out when the railing leading to a footbridge collapsed.
Railways Minister P.K. Bansal, however, today ruled out the collapse of footbridge or any railing on the railway station as the cause for stampede
"There has been no collapse of foot over bridge or any railing on the station. I want to clear that stampede occurred due to people reaching in large numbers. We had made arrangements before start of the Kumbh.
“We have come to know that people turned in large numbers resulting in stampede. Still there are large number of people on the station," he said.
The Uttar Pradesh Government has ordered an inquiry into the stampede, and asked the railways to make proper arrangements to clear rush of devotees. The Uttar Pradesh Government has also sanctioned an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh to the kin of each of the dead persons.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has expressed shock at the loss of life in the stampede at the Allahabad railway station, and issued instructions to Ministry of Railways to provide all necessary assistance to the affected persons.
"My government assures an ex gratia payment to the families of those who have lost their dear ones and to those who are injured from the Prime Minister`s Relief Fund. The Central government will extend all possible help to the state government in relief operations," he said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Railways has set up helplines to help those in distress. The helpline numbers are: Delhi - 011-23342954, 23341074, 24357660, Allahabad - 0532-1072, 0532-2408149, 2408128, 2407353 and Kanpur - 0512-1072, 0512-2323015, 2323016, 2323018.