Railway claims only 28 died, while state govt’s claim it 37

Patna: Minister of state for railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has blamed the state government for not coordinating with the railways keeping in view the large congregation at Dhamara Ghat railway station during the holy month of Shrawan. He also refuted the state government’s claim that 37 persons died in the Monday tragedy.

“The local administration did not alert the railways about the large congregation of pilgrims for the Shrawani fair at the Katyayani temple. Otherwise, we could have taken some measures,” he said at the Patna airport after returning from the accident site on Tuesday morning.

“Actually, only 28 persons died and nine were injured” Chowdhury said. The minister announced that railways would construct a foot overbridge at the accident site under Samastipur division of East Central Railway (ECR) in Khagaria district. New platforms would also be built at Dhamara Ghat and better public address system would also be installed there to check recurrence of any such accident in future, he said.

“Bihar government gets enough funds from the Centre under Prime Minister Gramin Sadak Yojna (PMGSY). It should have, at least, develop a road network at such a remote place where railways is the only mode of transport,” he said.

According to Chowdhury, railways is keen to hold a high-level probe into the matter to fix the responsibility on the guilty persons.

ECR GM Madhuresh Kumar who camped at the site whole night to restore traffic on Saharsa-Mansi section, said the condition of the injured loco pilots, Rajaram Paswan and Sushil Kumar Suman, was much better now. They are undergoing treatment at a hospital in Khagaria, he said, adding that the services of Saharsa-Patna Rajyarani Express (12567/12568) could be restored only by Thursday.

According to ECR CPRO Amitabh Prabhakar, train traffic was restored on that section and Saharsa-Amritsar Express crossed at 1 on the intervening Monday-Tuesday night. However, security has been beefed up at Dhamara Ghat, he said.