Amritsar train tragedy: Govt acts against 4 MC officials; too little, say victims’ kin
Even as the Punjab local bodies department has acted against four Amritsar Municipal Corporation officials (2 now retired) for lapse in the 2018 Dussehra train tragedy that claimed the lives of 61 persons, the victims’ families have expressed their dissatisfaction over the move terming it “too little, too late”.
As per the department’s recent order, secretary Sushant Bhatia and superintendent Pushpinder Singh have been debarred from getting any promotion for two years, while pension of former superintendent Girish Kumar and then inspector Kewal Krishan will be deducted by 5% for the same period.
There was also a fifth official (now retired), Kashmir Singh, who was chargesheeted along with the four, but he was acquitted as allegations against him were not proved, the order reads.
Joint director (local government) Rakesh Kumar confirmed the development.
Terming the action as “mere eyewash”, the victims’ families said they were already expecting “mild punishment” as the departmental inquiry was deliberately delayed.
“It was because of the lackadaisical approach of the authorities concerned, including the MC officials, police and the railways, that 60 people were killed and more than 100 injured. The punishment should have been exemplary so that no official dares do such a blunder again. Cutting 5% from the pension and stopping promotions for two years is no punishment,” said Deepak Kumar, who lost his father Gurinder Kumar to the tragedy.
He added, “Earlier, the railways had submitted a chargesheet against the event organisers without making any arrest. The accused against whom criminal action was recommended are roaming free.”
During the departmental inquiry, the inquiry officer had assigned the probe to retired additional district and sessions judge Amarjit Singh Katari after finding replies of four of the chargsheeted officials unsatisfactory. Katari had submitted the inquiry report to the department in June last year, recommending action against the four.
The department had given those indicted in the probe 15 days to present their side. Katari in the final report had stated there was ground for “big punishment”.
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