Kolkata, Oct 25 (IANS) The Indian Railways on Thursday admitted that facilities at the Santragachhi station, where a stampede took two lives on Tuesday, were “highly inadequate”, and infrastructure development will soon be initiated there.
“I agree that the facilities at the station, compared to the number of passengers that are being catered to here, have been highly inadequate. We thought about it 15 years ago. But because of funds constraint, we could not do it. Now that funds are available, we will develop the station premises,” P.S. Misra, General Manager, South Eastern Railway, told reporters here.
Two persons died and a dozen others, including two children, were injured in a stampede at a railway foot overbridge at Santragachhi station in Howrah on Tuesday.
The stampede occurred around 6 p.m. when the commuters hurriedly tried to cross the foot overbridge between two platforms following an announcement of two trains coming simultaneously on two adjacent tracks.
The officer, however, rubbished the allegation of last-minute announcement regarding change of platforms for trains’ arrivals that evening and said strict instruction has been given to the concerned officials not to allow trains to change platforms during the peak hours.
“The information regarding last-minute change of platforms for arriving trains that evening is incorrect. There was no announcement of platform change at that time in the public announcement system. We always ensure that there is no change of platforms during peak hours. I have also reiterated the same to the officials here,” he said.
He said that according to railway guidelines, any change of scheduled platforms has to be announced at least half an hour prior to the train’s arrival.