Tumkur (Karnataka): Over the last week, every time the Bangalore-Hubli Intercity Express chugged into Tumkur railway station, passengers were eager to see whether it would leave the station at all. That's because it came very close to getting a permanent red signal.
A local court had ordered that the train be attached, after the Railways failed to pay compensation to the those killed in a train mishap.
"In September 2006 itself, the additional civil judge passed an order awarding Rs four lakh per deceased. Immediately, I sent it to the Railways and requested to pay the amount. So far, they've not paid," says victim's lawyer M S Harish Babu.
For the moment though, the Railways has some reprieve as the High Court has stayed that order.
The case goes back nine years, when the Intercity Express ran over an autorickshaw killing six people, at a level crossing in Tumkur. The Railways' inquiry had blamed the gate man for negligence.
"It's a railway gate that is guarded but there was no locking system, probably the auto driver lifted the barrier resulting in accident," says Railways' lawyer G S Ramasesha.
But the victims' children never got compensation. "There are minor daughters who are suffering without food and shelter. So far, the Railways has not settled their claim. They are now under the care and mercy of uncles," says a victim's lawyer M S Harish Babu.
That's when the sessions court ordered the attachment of movable properties of the Railways — computers, furniture and the Intercity Express itself.
Two days ago, court officials stopped the train to carry out the order. But they let it go after railway officials pleaded for time.
Now, the Karnataka High Court has stayed the attachment. But the drama will continue to unfold.
that's created a history of sorts as far as court judgements are concerned.
Six persons lost their lives at the level crossing in Tumkur a few years ago, have given the mammoth railway department a lot to worry about.