Train tragedy: Sidhu’s wife cleared

first_imgThe magisterial probe into the Amritsar train mishap, which claimed 61 lives, has found the organisers of the Dussehra event and the gateman of the railway crossing at Jaura Phatak accountable for acts leading to the tragedy.The inquiry also gave a clean chit to Navjot Kaur Sidhu, the wife of the Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had attended the function as chief guest, saying “she had no role in organising the event”.The magisterial inquiry into the incident was conducted by the Divisional Commissioner (Jalandhar) B. Purushartha on the orders of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who has now sought strict action against those held responsible.“Everyone concerned with organization, regulation and supervision of the event under inquiry committed omissions and commissions including dereliction of statutory duties,” observed the inquiry report, adding, “it is true that such omissions, commissions, dereliction of duties have not been done for the first time (but) in this event it combined with the blunders committed on the part of key rail employees and a ripe situation for occurrence of this accident was created.”The report, recently submitted to the State government, examined all aspects related to the tragedy. It was based on interviews with all the people affected and various officials concerned, from the district administration and the Railways.The inquiry report observed that while the spectators “committed the mistake” of watching the Dussehra event from rail tracks, the organisers held the event without permission and without undertaking the necessary safety and security measures.The organisers of the event include municipal corporation councillor Vijay Madan and her son Saurabh Madan Mithu, both associated with the ruling Congress party.The report blamed the police and the municipal corporation functionaries for their failure to enforce the law and showing unwanted generosity, while the key rail employees failed to take safety and security measures even after having full knowledge of the presence of a large number of people on and around the rail tracks.The inquiry concluded, “Gateman of Jaura Phatak, Gate No. 27 Mr. Amit Singh has not only failed in discharging his statutory duties but also committed a blunder in not taking appropriate safety and security measures which could have easily prevented this accident. He is one of those key railway employees whose blunder has resulted in this accident.”The inquiry report also blamed the gateman of another gate (No. 26) for his failure. It said, “It is also evident that Gateman of railway level crossing Gate No. 26 Mr. Nirmal Singh also failed in discharging his statutory duties by his late reaction in informing Gateman of Jaura Phatak, Gate No. 27. He came to know about this gathering on rail tracks around 5.30 p.m., but informed Gateman of Gate No. 27, Mr. Amit Singh around 6.40-6.45 p.m. He did not inform the concerned station master and keep giving all right signals to approaching trains. Therefore, he is also responsible for committing this blunder.”Organisers pulled up The inquiry report said the organisers did not having permission required for holding this event.“It is also evident that the organisers conducted this event without taking adequate precautions, measures to ensure safety and security of the people gathered to watch Dussehra celebration,” it added.Blaming the organisers for failure to inform the Railways, the report said, “The organisers neither informed the Railways nor took any precautions and safety measures to stop people from watching the celebrations from rail tracks.”last_img

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