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Suspension after bull run on platform

Calcutta/Malda, July 8: A bull on a free run on a railway platform in Malda triggered panic among passengers and caused the suspension of two officials on duty.

The incident took place at Malda Junction station on the night of July 6. H.R. Das, chief inspector for ticketing, and S.K. Singh, ticket collector, have been suspended by the railways on charges of negligence of duty.

A catering inspector, S. Sakur, was also suspended after the divisional railway manager found him sleeping in the refreshment room of the station’s railway canteen.

“Das was not in his office while Singh, although standing at the gate, didn’t do anything to stop the bull from entering the platform,” an Eastern Railway spokesperson said today.

Railway officials said no one in particular was responsible for driving away a bull from a station. “But if any railway employee sees a bull on the platform, he should try to drive it away,” said an official. Around 10pm on Wednesday, the senior divisional commercial manager of Malda, R.N. Tambe, went on an inspection of the station, an hour before minister of state for railways Mukul Roy was to arrive to catch a train back to Calcutta.

The divisional railway manager of Malda, Harsh Kumar, had accompanied Tambe. They spotted the bull on Platform 1. “It had triggered panic among passengers. There were several children and aged people. If it had attacked them, they would not have been able to run and that could have led to a mishap,” said Tambe.

The officials looked for the chief inspector for ticketing, Das, but he was not to be found anywhere. Ticket collector Singh was standing at the entrance to the platform and saw the bull enter but did nothing to stop it, an official said.

Tambe said this was not the first time that the bull had entered the platform. “We had received reports that it stays on the station premises. Now we are planning how to drive it out.”

After the incident, the officials went to check the refreshment room and found catering inspector Sakur sleeping on a table under a mosquito net.

Railway sources said the air-conditioning and lights of the VIP waiting room at the station were also not working properly.

Minister Roy, who had been to Raiganj to campaign for the municipal elections, was returning to Calcutta. He came to Malda Junction station around 11.40pm and took the Sealdah-bound Darjeeling Mail at 11:45pm. “I don’t know anything about the incident. No one had informed me about it,” Roy said today.

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