Bangalore, Aug 20: The Railways and the Bihar state administration were found passing the bucks over Monday's tragedy at Dhamra Ghat in Khagaria district of the state where 37 pilgrims were run over by a speeding train.
It is the same-old story of the blame game after a major tragedy strikes. Whether the death toll is 37 or 28 (as the Railways claimed vis-a-vis the state government) is irrelevant. The bigger questions are: Why do we lack the minimum sense of not seeing whether a train is coming on the tracks and why don't the authorities make timely arrangements to avert such disasters?
Reports said that the Railways suffered loss of around Rs 90 crore as 15 compartments of the train were set ablaze by the mob after the incident. The driver of the superfast Rajya Rani Express, which was doing 80kmph, did his best to stop it after suddenly noticing several pilgrims walking along the tracks but it was too late. Thirteen women and four children were among those who were mowed down by the train. Another train was also vandalised by the angry people.
It is genuine to question the wisdom of those people who were walking along the main line after getting off from their train stationed in the loop line. The train did not have a stop at that station and despite an announcement about the arrival of the train, those pilgrims didn't care to take a look and were busy with the celebrations.
Why wasn't the local administration careful about the fact that the temple where the pilgrims were heading to was located near the railway tracks and there should have been adequate measures on the day of the celebrations. The onus lies more on the local authorities. The Railways can be held responsible for the fact that they did not put up adequate infrastructure at the nondescript station even after having a number of ministers from Bihar. But noway can be drivers be blamed for the tragedy.
The demand for a probe into the speed consideration of the 'killer' train by Bihar's top authorities doesn't serve any purpose. It wasn't an elephant movement zone that the driver had to keep a check on the speed just because an occasion was being observed.
Luckily, we do not have bullet trains.