Amritsar (Punjab), Oct 20: Amid political slugfest over the train accident that claimed over 60 lives , chief Minister of Punjab Amarinder Singh on Saturday visited the mishap site in Amritsar and said he had asked the magisterial enquiry to submit its report in four weeks.
Capt Singh, who arrived nearly 16 hours after the incident, on a special flight from New Delhi, instructed report to be submitted in four weeks.
The Punjab government has declared a state mourning. The mishap had attracted condolences from President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau among others.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by Punjab Congress president and Gurdaspur MP Sunil Jakhar. The Dusherra festival revelers were crushed to death by a moving train while watching the burning of a Ravana effigy here.The accident happened near Jodha Pathak area of Amritsar on Friday evening.
A nearly 700 strong crowd watching a huge Ravana effigy go up in flames amid crackers bursts spilled on to the tracks when the Jalandhar-Amritsar Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) passenger train heading to Hoshiarpur from Amritsar came hurtling.
Apparently, most of the crowd could not hear the hooting of the train due to the crackers burst.
Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said the railway administration had 'no prior information' about the Dushera show - which was said to be have been organised by a local Congress leader.
The Chief Minister held a meeting with senior district officials and ordered immediate release of Rs 3 crore to DC Amritsar for payment of ex-gratia to the deceased.
Following the accident, the railways have cancelled 37 trains, diverted 16 trains, short terminated 12 trains and short originated six trains on the route.
Punjab Congress leader and Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, whose wife was the chief guest at the event, said: "We have to believe that was an accident. This is a negligence but nobody did this intentionally". Nobody should do politics on this issue, he added. UNI
Mr Sidhu's remarks are significant as Punjab BJP in a statement has slammed the Congress government over the train mishap and asked how celebrations were allowed near the railway tracks.
'The incident has put a big question mark on the callous working of the Amritsar district administration. Had the organisers taken due permission from the district administration? If yes, had the district administration deployed sufficient number of police personnel to prevent people from standing or squatting on the railway tracks?,' a statement from the Punjab BJP has said
Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh also visited a local hospital and inquired about the conditions of the injured. "When a tragedy happens entire administration gets involved," the Chief Minister said. UNI