New Delhi, Feb 2 (PTI) Railways today said they could donothing to avert the mishap involving ITBP job aspirants inUttar Pradesh as repeated announcements made to discouragethem from travelling atop trains proved ineffective.
"Travelling atop trains is unlawful and is fraught withdanger. We tried to get them down, made repeated announcementsat the stations but people did not come down," NorthernRailway General Manager S K Budhalakoti said.
He told reporters that electricity supply to the overheadwire was also stopped between Bareilli and Alamnagar -- justbefore Lucknow -- to prevent the travellers from coming incontact with the high tension wires above.
But beyond that the Railways could do little as the crowdsimply kept swelling packed trains, he said.
Fourteen youths travelling atop the Himgiri Express werekilled when they were hit by an over-bridge near Shahjahanpuryesterday while another ITBP job-seeker died when he fell fromthe Triveni Express in Hardoi district. The toll climbed to19 today with four more persons succumbing to injuries.
Contending that they had "no information about therecruitment drive by ITBP", Budhalakoti said Railways came toknow about it only when large number of job aspirants startedgathering at stations in Bareilli and other places.
"We have successfully handled the crowd even during theKumbh Mela celebrations and we could have taken steps had webeen informed in this case," he said.
He said train services which had came to a grinding haltfrom the morning hours yesterday due to the agitation by thejob-seekers were resorted after Uttar Pradesh governmentpressed in forces following his request.
"We could not stop train movement for long due tobunching of trains on the route and due to passengerinconvenience because of long delays," he said to a question.
Budhalakoti said they had also run special trains toclear the crowd.
He said the cancellation of the recruitment driveinfuriated the students who resorted to stone-pelting andopened the hosepipes of trains to prevent train movement.
Over 1.5 lakh youths, vying for ITBP jobs, had reachedBareilly yesterday morning to submit forms for recruitment inthe force.