AMRITSAR: Railways authorities said there would be no probe against the driver of the DMU Jalandhar-Amritsar passenger train that was involved in the tragedy near the Jora Phatak.As per sources, the driver of the DMU train, in his statement to railway authorities, stated that he slowed down the train seeing the people on the tracks. But, he claimed, the people hurled stones and so he did not stop in order to save the passengers on the train. He added that he decided to stop the train at the railway station in order to save passengers.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh set a four-week deadline for the completion of an inquiry into the incident by the Divisional Commissioner of Jalandhar. Vivek Kumar, Divisional Railway Manager, Ferozepur, said the people standing on the railway tracks were trespassing.
“The driver was not at fault as the train was being driven on the Amritsar-Delhi railway line, which is supposed to accommodate trains running at 110 km per hr. The driver, after seeing the people, applied the brakes and brought down the speed to 68 km per hr, but it was too late.”
He also ruled out any error on the part of the gateman, saying the accident site was about 400 m ahead of the level crossing. “The gateman’s duty was to manage the gate. The accident site was not properly lit and was not clearly visible from the level crossing.” Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani also reiterated the stance. “The gathering of people on the rail tracks was trespassing and Railways wouldn’t hold any investigation. It would be wrong to say that Railways are responsible for this accident,” he said.
“There are two manned level-crossing on that track, both were closed. It is the main line. There is no speed restriction. The Railways administration was not informed about the Dusshera celebration. If we had been informed by local authorities, then we would have taken adequate measures.”
‘Not right to play political blame game’
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and minister Navjot Singh Sidhu met the injured people recuperating at hospitals. Both Amarinder and Sidhu appealed to all stakeholders not to politicise the rail tragedy. “This is not the time to indulge in political blaming. An accident should not turn political,” Sidhu said.