Twelve Opposition political parties on Monday demanded an independent inquiry into the Balasore train accident of June 2 that left 288 persons dead and 1,200 injured by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court.
The parties said the alleged disappearance of 119 railway passengers from Bihar and West Bengal made the situation critical and it was grave concern that attempts were being made to “suppress the facts”. The train accident reiterated the fact as to how insecure the railway passengers were and the jeopardy the railway system was in.
The 12 parties, including the Congress, the CPI, the CPI(M), the CPI-ML (Liberation), the All India Forward Bloc, the Aam Aadmi Party, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Socialist Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Samata Kranti Dal, held an agitation in front of the Raj Bhavan on Monday. They dismissed the CBI probe stating that the inquiry would not provide due justice to the victims and the affected families.
The SIT comprising of specialists must carry out an investigation under the supervision of the Supreme Court. In addition, compensation of ₹50 lakh to each deceased family and adequate financial assistance and special free for injured ones must be ensured, they demanded.
“Employment should be given to one person from each family of those who have died in accidents and those who have been totally disabled due to injury. A list of deceased and injured should be made public through newspapers,” said Suresh Panigrahi of the CPI(M). Union Railway Minister Ashiwini Vaishnav must resign from his post, he said.
The accident happened due to the “careless traffic management” of the Indian Railways and infrequent maintenance, the parties said, adding that the warning given in the CAG report on the vulnerability of railway infrastructure was completely ignored.
“As high as 3,12,000 posts were lying vacant in the Indian Railways and 1,42,000 of vacant posts belonged to passenger safety only. The Ministry of Railways, without investing in the development of basic infrastructure, is focusing on new rail operations,” said the CPI(M) leader.