Patna: A day after the State Minister of Railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary blamed the state government for the train accident at Dhamara Ghat last Monday that led to the death of at least 28 Kanwarias, War of words has exploded between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the Railway Ministry over the Rajyarani Express tragedy. Nitish Kumar reacted strongly to Minister of State for Railways Adhir Ranjan Choudhury’s statement blaming his government for not informing the railways about the rush of pilgrims at the time. “The Minister has made a highly irresponsible statement and he has made a fool of himself,” said the Chief Minister
“His comments are highly irresponsible and the minister is only making a fool of himself,” an angry Chief Minister reacted.
Kumar said Chowdhary was not aware of the situation in Bihar and hence, he should have refrained from passing any judgment on the tragic incident.
As reported earlier, the Railway Minister for State, on Tuesday, after returning from Khagaria where he met with local officials and injured victims at a local hospital, told the reporters that the local administration failed to alert the railways of the large crowd due to Shravani festival being observed in the state.
“Had they told us about the large crowd expected at the railway station, we could have done something about it,” he had said at the Patna Airport.
Chowdhary also indicted the state government on failing to use fund under the Prime Minister Gramin Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) to build roads in rural areas that, he said, would have lessened burden on the Indian Railways.
Twenty-eight people, including many women and children, died Monday morning when the speeding Saharsa-Patna Rajyarani Express ran over them as they tried to cross the railway tracks at Dhamara Halt in Saharsa district, about 160 kilometer north of Patna. Initially, the number of dead was reported to be 37 but Chowdhary insisted it was 28 with nine people in critical condition.