A stampede at New Delhi Railway Station in the afternoon of 16th May has killed 2 and left 15 others injured. The stampede occurred because the platform numbers for trains were changed, just 10 minutes before they were about to leave.
Railway stations in India are ill managed, and we all know about it. But to toy with lives of people because of mismanagement is sacrilege.
On 16th May, passengers headed mainly to Bihar were waiting for two Bihar bound trains. One train was The Vikramshila Express and the other was Sapt Kranti Express. This is high peak seasons, with the summer holidays and marriage seasons beginning. generally, it takes 20-30 minutes to board a train, mainly for the passengers who do not have a confirmed ticket and are traveling in the general class compartments. However, Vikramshila Express was placed at the platform at 2.20 p.m., just 20 min before its scheduled departure, and Sapt Kranti Express was placed just 10 min before departure.
To make matters worse, the correct platform numbers were not announced in advance. When it was finally announced, it was too late for passengers to move between platforms 12 and 13, where the trains were eventually placed. The ongoing rush lead to the stampede, which killed a woman and a child. At least 15 others were injured and several people lost their luggage and belongings.
Railways reacted the way it was supposed to. Mamta Banerjee, the Railways Minister, just laid the blame on the people and the chaos they caused. She declined to accept that the mistake was because the platform numbers were not correctly announced on time. As usual, compensation was quickly announced so that victims won’t create a problem for the Govt. Those dead will be given Rs. 2 Lakh each, seriously injured will get Rs. 50,000, while those with minor injuries will get Rs. 15,000. But what about those who lost their luggage, what about those who had saved everything to get their daughter married in Bihar and lost it all in the stampede, as was the case with one passenger named Sumitra Devi. Well, the Govt won’t know this because these people are least of its concerns. all it tries to do is stop negative publicity.
Meanwhile, in a time when the Bihar Assembly Elections are round the corner, it is to be easily expected that politicians, especially NDA, will make a huge issue out of it. In between, a committee would be set up to ascertain the cause of stampede, which will get numerous extensions and may be after 10 years or so, come to the conclusion that it was passengers fault. We as a public, would remember this incidence next only when something of similar nature occurs next.