Tuesday, January 16, 2018
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No body could deny the fact that everyone were keeping their fingers crossed hoping that the ongoing Maha Kumbh in Allahabad gets along smoothly, be it the central government, the state government, the pilgrims, or the local subjects.  Also, tragedies are not new to pilgrims in India.  The real apathy is that instead of knowing the root cause of the mishap and rectifying it so that no such further incidences takes place, the blame game starts along with shrugging off responsibility from respective shoulders.  The outcome as always enquiry commission to be lost in files, even if placed after delay zero implementation.  The reason, as long it is in the news, people talk about it, once off the screen or print, it vanishes out without trace waiting for the next catastrophe to happen.

One more such unwanted tragedy confronted pilgrims, who were returning back after taking their holy bath at Maha Kumbh.  According to the media reports at least 40 people were killed in a stampede at Allahabad railway station on Sunday evening and several others injured.  The tragedy occurred around 7 pm on a footbridge between platform number 5 and 6 of the station.  Lakhs of people were present at the station around that time, many on their way back from Allahabad after taking a holy dip in the ongoing Kumbh Mela.  Blame game has already started over the deaths.  Many passengers have blamed the railways for failing to provide adequate numbers of trains to ferry the passengers.  However, ruling party of Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party has blamed Central government for not providing adequate facilities to tackle the issue.

It could also be made out that the stampede at Allahabad railway station was due to panic.  The public panicked due to inadequate number of trains to return home and the administration due to the sheer number of people at the railway station.  The railways have deployed 700 special Kumbh servicec spread over 40 days and that seems to have been very little.  On Sunday, there were over 120 regular train services running through Allahabad and of them there were only about 30 trains available post 4.30 pm till midnight for the pilgrims to leave Allahabad.  These 30 trains had to take in over 3 lakh passengers on the platform and that by any calculation is not a possibility. The stampede happened at 6.45 pm and Sikkim Mahananda, Shipra Express, Seemanchal Express, Godan Express and Howrah Express from New Delhi arrive around that time as generally trains run late on New Delhi-Howrah route.  These train services cover most of the Bihar, Bengal up east and Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra down central India.  This is the peak time and the passengers were naturally in state of anxiety and panic.  Did Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal consider all these compulsions of the passengers when he said adequate arrangements had been made at the Allahabad railway station for Kumbh travellers.  Bansal also said that even if they run trains every 10 minutes, it won't be possible to manage three crores people.  But Mr. Bansal the crowd at the station was around 3 lakhs and not 3 crores.  The Railways has been accused of gross mismanagement.  They are also guilty of panicking and resorting to lathi charge.  Witnesses claim that many of the deaths could have been prevented if those injured had been treated on time.  The Railway hospital is less than 500 metres away from the station.  At the station, there was only one doctor available to attend to the injured. The youngest victim, eight-year-old Muskaan, lay injured on the platform for over two hours, before she was shifted to hospital.  She died this morning.  Witnesses also say that the policemen used lathis to control the crowd. They said there was barely place to stand as lakhs of people attempted to board trains to return home after a dip in the Ganga.

Now the big question is that the medical facility available was negligible as if the authority were taking it so lightly or an incident to happen so that they could react.  Why not the announcements be made earlier before an hour for respective platforms of given train so that there would be no sense of panic in the mind of passengers.  How could the police lathi charge on fellow citizens.  When would our politicians and administrative authority understand it only brings them disgrace to themselves when they play their pathetic blame game as it could only angry the subjects not console them?  It would also be not wrong to say that nothing would be learnt also from this mishap as this is how the system runs in our country.  Prepared for everything on paper but in reality evidence is in front of us.

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