A blame game between the UP government and the Centre started on Monday as the Kumbh Mela stampede death toll rose to 36.
While railway minister Pawan Bansal said the railways was not at fault, the Samajwadi Party said the tragedy could have been averted if the railway had provided more trains to clear the rush of pilgrims.
Over 30 million people had gathered at Kumbh on Sunday for the shahi snan on mauni amavasya, making Allahabad the most populous city for a day.
The stampede occurred when hundreds of pilgrims, gathered on a foot over bridge at the Allahabad station, made a mad rush to catch a special train. At least 26 women and a child were among those killed in the stampede.
Railway minister Pawan Bansal denied that any railing of the bridge had collapsed. He said the railways ran 220 trains to clear the extra rush during the Kumbh Mela. He pointed out that 69 trains had departed from Allahabad on Sunday and 27 special trains had left the city till Monday evening.
Saying it was wrong to blame the railways for the tragedy, Bansal said: “There was no shortage of trains. On average, more than 30 million people in the country travel on trains every day. I am told that 30 million people had gathered at the Kumbh on Sunday... It is not possible to divert all trains to one point.”
SP spokesperson Ram Asrey Kushwaha said the stampede could have been averted if the railways had provided more trains. Senior UP minister Balram Yadav said the government had made adequate arrangements.