- Accident happened between two stations: Railway Board Chairman
- Staff only at level crossings, not midsections, said Ashwani Lohani
- No inquiry against the train driver, Divisional Railway Manager, Firozpur
A day after 61 people watching a Ravan effigy being burnt in Amritsar were run over by a train, the Railways has strongly denied any responsibility for the accident and said they were not intimated about the Dussehra event along the tracks either by the area administration or the event organisers.
Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani, who visited the accident site in Amritsar's Joda Phatak last night, said the incident did not take place at a level crossing, but at a stretch between two stations, where people are not expected to be standing on the rail tracks.
"At midsections, trains run at their assigned speed and people are not expected to be on the tracks. At midsections, there is no railway staff posted. We have staff at level crossings whose job is to regulate traffic," Mr Lohani said.
"It was a clear case of trespassing," he added.
Meanwhile, the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Firozpur said there will be no inquiry against the train driver.
"No investigation will take place against anyone. The driver has been questioned and a written statement has been recorded. The driver couldnt see from a distance as the site had a curve," said DRM Vivek Kumar.
When asked about the responsibility of the train driver, Mr Lohani said, "Our initial report suggests that the loco-pilot applied the brakes and the speed came down from 90 kmph to around 60-65 kmph. We are still looking at the speedometer charts."
The train driver, who was questioned by the Punjab and Railway Police today, said he was given the green all-clear signal to move ahead and he had no idea that hundreds of people were standing on the tracks ahead before the train crossed the area, people with direct knowledge of the matter said, according to IANS.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the accident, and said the report will be out in four weeks. 61 people were killed and 72 injured when they were hit by the train at Joda Phatak in Amritsar while attending Dussehra festivities last evening. The Ravan effigy was about 100 metres from the elevated rail track, on which hundreds gathered to get a good view of the fireworks.
With inputs from agencies