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Railways refuse to own up stampede mishap


Shambhavi Rai,CNN-IBN
May 18, 2010 at 03:09am IST

New Delhi: A day after the stampede at the New Delhi Railway station on Sunday which left 2 dead and 8 injured, the Railways refuse to accept that the last-minute change of the platforms was responsible for the mishap.

But here is what really happened:

The Vikramshila Express which arrives at 2:10 pm at Platform 12, and the Sapt Kranti Express which arrives at 2:15 pm on Platform 13, were both announced to be on time. The passengers were waiting in their respective queues.

But then, there was an announcement which said that the Vikramshila would now come to Platform 13 and that the Guwahati Rajdhani earlier scheduled to arrive at Platform 15, would arrive at Platform 12. The result was total chaos and a stampede as passengers of 3 separate trains, around 6,000 people, converged onto 2 platforms at the same time.

Around 5 lakh people use the New Delhi Railway station every day in peak season. Railway officials insist that they now have a host of measures in place to manage the crowds.

Chief Public Relation Officers (CPRO), Railways, Anant Swaroop said, "We have stopped the sale of platform tickets, we are ensuring that people do not crowd at the foot overbridges and staircases. A large number of scouts and guides and civil defence personnel have been deployed and public announcement system is being monitored."

Even as the Railways stopped selling the platform tickets after the incident, there was no significant change in the crowd of people who had come to see off their families and friends as they resorted to other means to get inside.

As the Railways hedge between half-measures and denials, it’s clear that the lakhs of passengers are way down on the Railways priority list.

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