Action taken in Dussehra 2018 train tragedy, says Amarinder Singh

A total of 58 persons died and 71 were injured in the tragic mishap, the CM said in a statement. (File)

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday said departmental action had already been initiated against six police officers and seven employees of the Municipal Corporation Amritsar had been chargesheeted in 2018 Dussehra train tragedy.

These police and MC personnel had been found guilty of dereliction of duty and necessary action had been ordered against them, based on the findings of the Magisterial Inquiry Report. The magisterial enquiry into the incident, which occurred on 19th October 2018, was conducted by Divisional Commissioner Jalandhar B Purushartha, on the orders of the Chief Minister. A total of 58 persons died and 71 were injured in the tragic mishap, the CM said in a statement.

Taking cognizance of some recent reports, the Chief Minister clarified that due action, as per the law, was being taken against all those found guilty, and there was no question of brushing the matter aside or burying the inquiry report, as alleged in a section of the media.

His government was also taking all possible steps to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future, said Captain Amarinder, pointing out that detailed guidelines were issued to police and local government officers suggesting corrective measures, including creation of a single window/authority to accept applications and grant permissions for such events. The Commissionerates of Police in Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar, besides the SDMs in other areas, had already been appointed Single Authority for this purpose, he added.

It was also stipulated that the application would contain all the relevant information alongwith detailed checklist and the organisers would be asked to make application at least 15 days before the Event. Organisers would also be charged for security fire tenderswater tenders and cleaning etc. In addition to making video-graphing of these functions mandatory, the state government had also stipulated that permission of the concerned department would be a prerequisite if the event was proposed to be held on Government land.

It may be recalled that immediately after the accident, the Chief Minister had ordered Rs 5 lakh compensation to the dependents of each of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured. Of the Rs 2.9 crore placed at the disposal of Deputy Commissioner Amritsar for disbursal to the kin of the deceased, Rs. 2.6 crore had already been disbursed. In one case, all four members of a family had died and their legal heirs could not be verified, according to an official spokesperson. Further, the identification of the legal heir of one deceased remained disputed and identity of one victim could not be established.