M A I N   N E W S

Allahabad stampede toll 36; chaos at hospitals
Victims’ angry relatives mob officials; probe report in a month
Tribune News Service

Azam Khan quits as mela in charge

Senior UP Cabinet minister Mohammad Azam Khan on Monday resigned as mela in charge, taking moral responsibility for the Allahabad stampede. “Though the incident took place outside the Kumbh Mela premises, I take moral responsibility and resign as the in charge of Kumbh arrangements,” Khan said.

Centre, state in Blame game

The state government on Monday blamed the Railways for not making adequate arrangements to deal with the rush. The ministry said if the state government had dealt with the situation in a better way, the incident could have been averted.

Lucknow, February 11
Frantic relatives today mobbed officials seeking information about victims of yesterday’s stampede which has claimed 36 lives even as the railways had a tough time dealing with the rush of three crore Kumbh devotees thronging the city.

There were chaotic scenes at the Allahabad railway station and local hospitals treating the 39 injured with relatives struggling to get information about their near and dear ones. An inquiry committee set up to investigate the reasons behind the stampede has been directed to submit its report within a month, UP Chief Secretary Javed Usmani said. Among the 36 victims, 29 were women and a girl child. Of the 39 injured, 27 are women.

Angry relatives confronted officials and politicians who had come to enquire about the health of those admitted to various hospitals. Commissioner of Allahabad Division Devesh Chaturvedi had to be whisked away to safety after he faced the wrath of victims’ kin.

Confusion and mismanagement at the railway station for hours after the stampede has clearly revealed the lack of coordination and any workable disaster management plan. It resulted in many more deaths later in the night as the injured did not receive medical attention in time.

“My daughter may have survived, had she been treated in time. She was alive and in pain for hours. But we could not reach hospital due to chaos,” said Bedi Lal, father of eight-year-old Muskan, the youngest among the victims.

Today, a semblance of order was visible at the railway station with a host of employees directing pilgrims to their respective entry and exit points at the station.

Of the 39 injured, 33 have been admitted to the Swaroop Rani Nehru hospital, five are undergoing in Tej Bahadur Sapru Hospital. One injured has been admitted to Motilal Nehru Hospital.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today raised the compensation for the grievously injured from Rs one lakh to two lakh. The next of kin of the dead will receive Rs 5 lakh from the UP Government.

Separately, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has announced ex gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh for the dead, Rs 50, 000 for the seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for those with minor injuries. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also announced compensation for the dead, revealed Bansal.

About the arrangements, he said 220 trains were arranged for the Mauni Amavasya besides 212 regular trains which pass through Allahabad and adjoining stations.





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