No foot overbridge collapsed at Allahabad station: Bansal
Allahabad, Feb 11 : Accepting lack of arrangements due to huge turn up of people, Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Monday ruled out collapse of footover bridge or any railing on the railway station as the cause for stampede and death of 36 so far.
The tragedy occurred when the railing of a foot overbridge collapsed, as thousands of devotees arrived to catch trains to leave for their respective destinations after taking holy dip in River Ganges at Maha Kumbh Mela.
Bansal said no foot overbridge collapsed and it was not possible to accommodate all who had reached the railway station.
"Till now death toll has reached 36. There has been no collapse of foot overbridge or any railing on the station. I want to clear that stampede occurred due to people reaching in large numbers. We had made arrangements before start of the Kumbh. We have come to know that people turned in large numbers resulting in stampede. Still there are large number of people on the station," he said in Allahabad.
Divisional Commissioner of Allahabad Devesh Chaturvedi said 19 dead bodies have been identified so far, 17 are still unidentified.
The UP government has ordered an inquiry into the stampede and asked the Railways to make proper arrangements to clear rush of devotees.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed shock at the tragedy and promised financial assistance to the families of the dead.
Over 30 million pilgrims took a dip on the occasion of 'Mauni Amavasya', considered the most auspicious day during the 12-yearly congregation, at Sangam - the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers.
Bansal also mentioned that his ministry has arranged more trains to ferry people from Allahabad.
Meanwhile, the government of Uttar Pradesh announced rupees 5,00,000 compensation to kin of deceased and 1,00,000 to injured persons.