Akhilesh to visit Allahabad stampede victims
Lucknow, Feb 12 : Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Governor B.L. Joshi Tuesday will visit those injured in the Allahabad railway station stampede, which has claimed 37 lives, an official said.
The state government earlier sent two cabinet ministers, the chief secretary and the director general of police (DGP) to oversee the rescue and relief operations at the accident site.
The chief minister was monitoring the situation 24x7, the official said.
The Uttar Pradesh government has come in for some sharp criticism for delayed medical assistance and poor crowd management at the railway station which led to the horrifying tragedy.
Officials suggest that while the state government has decided to "keep its calm" and is avoiding a direct confrontation with the union government, Akhilesh and his father Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav were "miffed" with the railway ministry for the "blot brought on an otherwise well managed Kumbh".
Chairman of the Revenue Board Jagan Mathews, who heads the team probing the stampede, has also been asked to "probe if any lapses on the part of the state machinery".
Footage from CCTV cameras installed at the railway station will be reviewed to establish the chain of events.
The committee has been asked to submit its report to the state government within a month.
The DGP is learnt to have taken a serious view of the reported cane charge by the Government Railway Police (GRP), which apparently led to the stampede at the platform NO. 6.
Inspector General of Police Badri Prasad Singh told IANS that GRP's demand for extra force had been met.
"We did whatever was best and met the demands made to us, the rest would become clear when the probe concludes," he added.
While three companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) stopped the surging crowds at the junction side of the city, no arrangements were made to stop the melee at the Civil Lines side. This was a crucial lapse, said an official.
The state government has hiked the ex-gratia amount for the families of those dead to Rs.7 lakh from Rs.5 lakh announced earlier, and Rs.2 lakh to those seriously injured.
Struck with the tragedy, the Kumbh Mela administration has now been asked to also focus on the third Shahi Snan (royal bath) scheduled for Basant Panchami Feb 15.