Two dead, 12 injured in stampede at Bengal railway foot-overbridge
Kolkata : Only four days after the Amritsar train tragedy, two people were killed and a dozen others, including two children, were injured in a stampede at a railway foot-overbridge at Santragachhi station in Howrah on Tuesday, police said.
At least 59 people were killed when a train crushed them as they were watching Dusshera celebrations in Punjab's Amritsar on Friday.
"Two people were killed and 12 others injured in the incident. Two persons are critical, and one of them is in in the ICU, and we are shifting the other one to the SSKM hospital," said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who rushed to the spot as also the Howrah General Hospital where the injured were being treated.
She said the other injured people were stable.
The railways claimed that the tragedy happened around 6 pm due to overcrowding on the foot-overbridge as four trains had just left the station and four others were about to leave.
"Presence of passengers of eight trains at a time resulted in heavy rush at the foot overbridge," a South Eastern Railway release said.
Earlier, a railway spokesperson told IANS the commuters hurriedly tried to cross the foot-overbridge between two platforms following an announcement of two trains coming simultaneously on two adjacent tracks.
Banerjee claimed arrival of an express train was also announced.
The railways have decided to hold a detailed inquiry to find out whether there was some lapse on its part and to prevent a recurrence, a senior official said.
The railways would provide Rs 5 lakh to the families of the deceased, Rs 1 lakh for the seriously injured and Rs 50 thousand for those with minor injuries.
Banerjee also announced there would be an administrative probe, and said her government would give a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the nearest kin of the deceased, and Rs 1 lakh to each of the seriously injured.
She alleged the announcement regarding change of platforms for arriving trains was announced at the last minutes.
"The incident happened in the premises of Indian Railways. They will be able to say why they made public announcements of so many trains simultaneously."
Banerjee alleged there was lack of coordination on the part of railway, compromising the security of innocent people.
"Security of people should not be compromised, and railway should take proper care of the people. Railway is the lifeline of the country, it should not be derailed," she said.
One of the survivors, who had jumped from the overbridge to the platform and escaped with a leg injury, said after the overbridge got overcrowded, police and civic volunteers prevented people from getting down to platform number two. "This caused the incident".
Sharing her ordeal, an injured victim said: "I couldn't move and hurt my feet. Police tried to control the crowd but it was unmanageable."
"It is very difficult for the daily passengers. Whenever a train comes, the footbridge becomes overcrowded and today there was a stampede," a passenger said.