| Railways minister Gowda at the site. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
Chhapra, June 25: Railway minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda today announced ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the family of each of the four deceased, Rs 1 lakh for the grievously injured passengers and Rs 20,000 for those sustaining minor injuries in the Rajdhani mishap.
While the minister was announcing the compensation, the Rajdhani passengers escaping unhurt and travelling in a special train to their destinations questioned the fairness of railways in treating them after they were not served food at Samastipur station. Travelling in non-AC coaches, the shortage of lunch packets compounded their anger.
“Lunch packets were not distributed among all the passengers. We find ourselves in misery as we are compelled to travel in a sleeper coach rather than an AC coach. What kind of justice railway is doing with us,” said S.M. Tarique, a passenger of the ill-fated Rajdhani Express.
Miles away, Gowda was then busy taking stock of situation at the site of derailment near Bishnupura village in Saran district in the company of junior railway minister Manoj Sinha and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi. He held a brief meeting with the officials concerned around 3pm.
Gowda said: “A probe by the commissioner of railway safety has been ordered. Some evidence has been found at the site of occurrence, which point to the sabotage angle.”
An official note quoting chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, however, ruled out the sabotage angle. It said had the pilot train been in service the accident could have been averted.
Manjhi announced ex gratia payment of Rs 50,000 each to next of the kin of deceased.