Rejects allegations of inaction by state govt, says no question of burying inquiry report
Rejecting media reports of inaction by the state government in the Dussehra 2018 train tragedy, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday said departmental action had already been initiated against six police officers and seven employees of the Municipal Corporation Amritsar had been chargesheeted in the case.
These police and MC personnel had been found guilty of dereliction of duty and necessary action had been ordered against them, based on the findings of the Magisterial Inquiry Report. The magisterial enquiry into the incident, which occurred on 19th October 2018, was conducted by Divisional Commissioner Jalandhar B Purushartha, on the orders of the Chief Minister. A total of 58 persons died and 71 were injured in the tragic mishap.
Taking cognizance of some recent reports, the Chief Minister clarified that due action, as per the law, was being taken against all those found guilty, and there was no question of brushing the matter aside or burying the inquiry report, as alleged in a section of the media.
His government was also taking all possible steps to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future, said Captain Amarinder, pointing out that detailed guidelines were issued to police and local government officers suggesting corrective measures, including creation of a single window/authority to accept applications and grant permissions for such events. The Commissionrates of Police in Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar, besides the SDMs in other areas, had already been appointed Single Authority for this purpose, he added.
It was also stipulated that the application would contain all the relevant information alongwith detailed checklist and the organisers would be asked to make application at least 15 days before the Event. Organisers would also be charged for security fire tenderswater tenders and cleaning etc. In addition to making video-graphing of these functions mandatory, the state government had also stipulated that permission of the concerned department would be a prerequisite if the event was proposed to be held on Government land.
It may be recalled that immediately after the accident, the Chief Minister had ordered compensation @Rs 5 lakh to the dependents of each of the deceased, with Rs 50000 compensation for those injured. Of the Rs 2.9 crore placed at the disposal of Deputy Commissioner Amritsar for disbursal to the kin of the deceased, Rs. 2.6 crore had already been disbursed. In one case, all four members of a family had died and their legal heirs could not be verified, according to an official spokesperson. Further, the identification of the legal heir of one deceased remained disputed and identity of one victim could not be established.
Of the 71 injured, compensation for three victims was under process due to non-availability of their known residential addresses, said the spokesperson, adding that efforts were in progress to find their alternative locations.
Warning that no procedural irregularity would be tolerated in the organisation, regulation and supervision of such events, the Chief Minister has, meanwhile, urged the public to exercise restraint and observe all due precautions, in view of the ongoing festive season, to complement the administration's efforts to ensure total safety and security at such events.