The Railways today formed a four-member committee to inquire into circumstances that led to a stampede at Santragachi Station in Bengal’s Howrah district, killing two people and injuring 15 others, a South Eastern Railway (SER) spokesperson said.
The stampede happened around 6 pm on Tuesday when an express train and two EMU locals arrived at the station at the same time and passengers rushed to the platforms to board the trains.
The inquiry panel comprising SER principal chief commercial manager, principal chief engineer, principal chief security commissioner-cum-IG and chief safety officer will look into allegations of “negligence” levelled against the Railways into the mishap, spokesperson Sanjay Ghosh said.
“Among other allegations, the committee will also probe claims of a last-minute change in platform for an incoming train, apparently leading to cross-movement of passengers on the foot over-bridge at the station,” Mr Ghosh explained.
Taking lessons from Tuesday’s mishap, additional railway personnel have been deployed at Santragachi station as well the foot over-bridge (FOB) today to ensure smooth movement of passengers alighting or boarding trains, said a railway official.
The official said there was no disruption in services and trains were running as per schedule through the station.
Blaming the Railways for the mishap, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed on Tuesday that internal coordination could have prevented the incident.
“I feel there is a gap in coordination and Railways should look into it, they should have given some time gap between the arrival of two trains when the passengers have to change platforms,” she had said.
Ms Banerjee also stated that her government will hold an inquiry into the incident.
Of the 12 injured persons admitted to the Howrah General Hospital on Tuesday evening, five have been discharged, two persons were shifted to a private facility at RN Tagore Hospital and one person was shifted to state-run SSKM Hospital in Kolkata, Mr Ghosh stated.
The remaining four injured people will be shifted to SE Railway Central Hospital, Garden Reach, he said.
“The railway authority will bear the entire cost of treatment for the injured passengers. As of now, railway doctors are attending to the injured passengers and providing them all necessary support for treatment at Howrah Government Hospital, Mr Ghosh added.
The chief minister has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of those who died, and Rs 1 lakh each to those injured in the incident.