Expressing grief over the train accident in Punjab, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has questioned the level of preparedness for the public event near railway tracks.ALSO READ: Amritsar train accident and the aftermath: Here's all you need to know
More than 58 people were mowed down by a train on railway tracks Friday evening at Joda Phatak area near Amritsar during Dussehra celebrations.
The revellers had spilled onto the tracks while witnessing the burning of Ravana effigy.ALSO READ: Amritsar train accident: Minister Sinha rules out action against driver
"The incident is tragic. We have learnt that some of the deceased belong to Bihar. Our condolences to all those who have lost their lives," Kumar, who had served as railway minister under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, told reporters Saturday.ALSO READ: Amritsar train accident: Survivors, families recount night of horror
A high level of alertness is required while holding any public function in the vicinity of a railway line, the chief minister said.
"We do not know whether the Railways were informed in advance about the Dussehra programme. Whoever organizes events near tracks need to exercise great caution. The authorities, too, should take safety aspects into consideration before granting permission," he said.ALSO READ: Amritsar train accident: Driver not at fault, says Northern Railway's CPRO
It is often not possible for a train to apply brakes abruptly, Kumar noted.
"The trains cannot make a sudden swerve. Moreover, it is often not possible to apply the brakes abruptly.
Therefore, people must be careful while allowing any gathering close to railway tracks anywhere," he added. Nitish announces Rs 200,000 ex-gratia for kin of Bihar natives killed in Amritsar train incidentChief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday announced an ex-gratia of Rs 200,000 to the next of kin of persons hailing from Bihar who died in the train accident in Amritsar. Four persons from Bihar - one each from Patna and Bhagalpur districts and two from Bhagalpur - were confirmed to be among the 59 killed in the incident. The Chief Minister has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 200,000 to the next of kin of each of them, an official release said here. Out of the total ex-gratia amount, half would be paid from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund and the remaining amount would be released under "Pravasi Mazdoor Durghatna Anudan Yojana" - a scheme meant for migrants from Bihar who meet with an accident elsewhere while trying to eke out a living, it said. Kumar, who had served as Railway minister during the Prime Ministership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, expressed grief over the loss of lives and questioned the level of preparedness for the Dussehra function that was being held close to the railway tracks in Amritsar. "A high-level of alertness and preparedness is required while holding any public function in the vicinity of a railway line. We do not know whether the Railways were previously informed about the Dussehra programme held there. But whoever organizes such events at such places, and the authority that grants sanction for the same, need to exercise great caution," the Chief Minister had told reporters here. "After all, under all circumstances, a train will run on the tracks. It cannot make a sudden swerve. Moreover, it is often not possible to apply the brakes abruptly. Therefore, people must be careful while allowing any gathering close to railway tracks anywhere," he added.