Mamata blames negligence for recurrent railway disasters, demands probe

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Kolkata, Oct 23 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said “negligence and callousness of some people” was responsible for the stampede at a railway foot-overbridge in Howrah that killed two and injured 12 others, urging the railways to take proper care of the passengers.

Referring to the horrific train accident in Punjab’s Amritsar four days ago in which at least 59 people died and scores injured, Banerjee said the department should initiate inquiries into the matters rather than shying away from taking responsibility.

“The accidents in railways should be reduced because so many modern equipment are available. But I think there must be some negligence or callousness… I do not know from which part,” she told reporters.

The Railways should “take more responsibility and take care of coordination among various sections” of it so that coordination-gap between its various internal departments can be reduced, she said.

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According to her, money has not been a constraint for the railways to construct wider railway foot-overbridges.

Banerjee also alleged that the railways did not seek any help from the state government during the festive seasons, but they “should work in liaison with the state” particularly during the festive period.

“See what happened in Amritsar. Even during the Puja time, I noticed three-four incidents in my state also. I asked the chief secretary to talk to the railway authorities to find out if they are monitoring the situation,” said Banerjee, who herself is a former railway minister.

“I do not want to blame the railways just for the sake of it. Let them investigate. Why are they not investigating the matter?” she questioned.

“When BJP called a bandh, I saw there were only four people on the tracks and they withdraw their train. But in Amritsar where 59 people died had so many people on the track… and they said they cannot take responsibility… I do not understand this,” she added.

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IANS

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