Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday announced an ex-gratia of Rs two lakh 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 two lakh to the next of kin of each of them, an official release said here.
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Out of the 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.
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"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.