We are familiar with the quote “safety first, safety always”. Last week on Dussehra, a train mishap in Amritsar affected as many as 150 people. The tragedy has now turned into a political slugfest. On the one hand, people have demanded the resignation of Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu. On the other hand, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has announced Rs Rs 5 lakh compensation for the kin of deceased people and has assured free treatment for the injured. However, officials say that there was no decision as yet on any compensation from the railways.
The entire tragedy is now turning out to be a political game between the ruling party and the opposition. The driver of the train has been arrested. But, was it really the driver’s fault?
Managing the crowd gathered for the Dussehra celebrations was the responsibility of the local administration and the police. The organisers did not even bother to seek written permission from either the district administration or the municipal corporation. However, the event organisers have claimed that they had NOC from the police to hold the event. But, what about the safety guidelines that must be adhered when organising such events?
The organisers of the event should have managed the crowd. The volunteers should have announced to stay away from the railway track. While we know that the event was organised on the open ground, the management should have had details about the whole area of the event. They didn’t even use CCTV monitoring to manage such a massive turnout of people to see Dussehra celebrations.
It was organisers’ responsibility to inform railway authorities about the event and that the crowd turnout was huge. Further, people should also have some basic civic sense of not standing on railway tracks.
According to locals, people were aware that the train would pass from the track. However, everyone was so engrossed in the celebrations that they failed to hear train’s whistle. Balmes and counter-blames are surfacing ever since the accident took place. But who is actually responsible for this tragedy?