Bhopal. Last week, a century-old suspension bridge collapsed in Gujarat’s Morbi city, killing 135 people. Due to this incident, there was a wave of mourning in the whole country. In a similar tragic incident in October 2006 in Datia district of Madhya Pradesh, 57 people were washed away due to flash floods in the Sindh river. The officials had opened the gates of the nearby Madikheda Dam without prior notice. According to reports, thousands of people gathered at a temple in Datia to offer prayers, during which suddenly the Sindh river flooded, due to which a bridge over it collapsed. According to state government records, at least 57 people were washed away in that incident.
In an even more horrific incident at the same location in October 2013, 115 people, including children and women, lost their lives in a stampede. Incidentally, both the incidents happened in October. The tragic incident happened in Morbi also in the month of October. Neither in Datia’s accident nor in the stampede incident, no action was taken. But many claims were made after the tragedies. Both the accidents happened during the BJP rule and the then government had set up inquiry commissions headed by retired high court judges to probe the incidents. However, neither the commission’s report was made public nor any official was punished in both these cases. Not only this, even after the Congress came to power in Madhya Pradesh in 2018, no official was held responsible for both the incidents.
Sources told IANS that the state government-appointed committee for the 2006 incident had submitted its report to the Assembly, but the probe panel’s report was rejected by the ruling BJP. Ajay Dubey, a social activist, said, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in 2013 took the decision of retired Madhya Pradesh High Court judge Justice Rakesh Saxena to investigate the stampede incident and identify the guilty officials. ) was appointed. Nine years have passed since then but no further action has been taken. Sources familiar with the developments said that the inquiry panel headed by Justice Saxena had submitted its report to the state government in March-April 2014. However, it was neither made public nor introduced in the state assembly.
Dubey said that he had filed an RTI for a copy of the report, but he failed to get the report due to constant pressure from the state government. Dubey said the 2013 stampede could have been avoided if the state government had acted in time. He further said, the job of such commissions is to identify and suggest what went wrong and what steps should be taken to avoid such incidents in future. Had the erring officers been summoned, they would have been more careful in 2013. However, now these tragedies have been forgotten. (IANS)