Passengers vent ire after Chhapra Exp runs over three
IRATE PASSENGERS set afire the Harauni railway station, situated 35 kilometres from here, after three persons were run over by the Gwalior-bound Chhapra Express at the station on Friday morning.
According to eyewitnesses Sanjay (22), Veerpal (18) and Sonu (18) were run over by the train while they were crossing the railway tracks to catch the stationary Lucknow-bound 2 LKM at about 7.50 am. Sanjay and Veerpal died on the spot, while Sonu was declared dead in the hospital. The railways, however, did not confirm Sonu’s death.
Reacting to the incident, others passengers went berserk and set the station on fire. The office of station manager Prem Nath, the record room and the parcel store were reduced to ashes. The mob also allegedly looted Rs 35,000 from the station. The mob uprooted and threw all the iron furniture on the tracks.
Eyewitnesses said, the station master was not in the office when the incident took place.
Around 35,000 MST holders travel everyday from Harauni, which doesn’t have a foot-over bridge. Local leaders, including an SP MLA Irshad Khan, sat on a dharna demanding compensation to the families of the dead.
Mahesh Singh, a local passenger, said a demand for the foot-over bridge (FOB) had been pending with the railways since long. “If it was there, today’s accident could have been averted,” said another passenger Ram Prasad.
The railways has been charged of creating confusion and chaos at the station by distributing tickets at the eleventh hour, forcing passengers to rush to catch the train. It is alleged that the station administration took the service of the porters in the sale of tickets, as was done even today. Mahesh Singh said Chhapra Exp almost always ran late. It was only today that it arrived on time.
Meanwhile, train traffic was completely paralysed for over 5 hours in the Lucknow division of the Northern Railways and 14 trains were cancelled.
However, traffic resumed after District Magistrate Ramendra Tripathi assured that Rs 1.20 lakh (1 lakh from MLA fund, and Rs 20,00 from insurance fund) would be paid along with a house in Indira Awas scheme and 2 bigha land to the familiy members of the victims. Later addressing the media, DRM (NR) R K Gupta said it was not an accident for which the railways was responsible. It was trespassing, he said ruling out any compensation in the case. He said station master Prem Nath and a porter Radheshyam were beaten up badly by the mob.
As regards the damage, the DRM said assessment was being done, but approximately the damage could be anything between Rs 20 to Rs 25 lakh.