Bansal rushes to Allahabad, announces compensation

bansalNew Delhi: Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Monday said that he would be going to Allahabad to monitor the situation as three more bathing days at the Maha Kumbh were scheduled.

“I am going to Allahabad to see the situation and the preparations for the coming days as three more dips are scheduled in the coming days,” Bansal told reporters in the national capital.

Speaking to reporters in the national capital, Bansal said, “There has been no collapse of foot-over-bridge or any railing on the station. I want to clear that stampede occurred due to people reaching in large numbers. We had made arrangements before start of the Kumbh. We have come to know that people turned in large numbers resulting in stampede. Still there are large numbers of people on the station.”

However, the Railway Minister admitted that there was lack of arrangements due to huge turn up of people. “It was not possible to accommodate a large numbers of devotees, who had reached railway station,” he said.

Giving the break-up of the dead and the injured, Basal said 36 people had died while 39 were injured, one of them critically.

“Apart from the compensation announced by the Prime minister, we are giving a lakh each to the kin of the dead, Rs.50,000 to the critically injured and Rs.25,000 to victims with minor injuries,” he said.

The Railway Minister will visit Allahabad along with Chairman Railway Board Vinay Mittal to take stock of the situation and meet the families of the victims.

Bansal further said that more trains have been pressed into service for rescue operations.

Bansal stated that even if the Ministry of Railways run trains every 10 minutes, it would not be possible to manage three crore people.

“The entire railway network of India ferries 2.3 crore people each day. Even if we have trains at 10-minute intervals at Allahabad, managing 3 crore people may not be possible,” he said.

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The Railways Minister also said AC second class passes each to the relatives of the victims who want to go to Allahabad are being offered, and added that proper arrangements will also be made for their return.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has expressed shock at the loss of life in the stampede at the Allahabad railway station, and issued instructions to Ministry of Railways to provide all necessary assistance to the affected persons.

“My government assures an ex gratia payment to the families of those who have lost their dear ones and to those who are injured from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. The Central government will extend all possible help to the state government in relief operations,” Dr. Singh said.

The Ministry of Railways has also set up helpline numbers. The helpline numbers are: Delhi – 011-23342954, 23341074, 24357660, Allahabad – 0532-1072, 0532-2408149, 2408128, 2407353 and Kanpur – 0512-1072, 0512-2323015, 2323016, 2323018.

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