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Cabinet approves setting up of NIMHR at Bhopal

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New Delhi: The Union Cabinet today approved setting up of a National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR) at Bhopal as a society under the aegis of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.

The estimated cost of the project is Rs 179.54 crore in first three years. This includes the non-recurring expenditure of Rs 128.54 crore and recurring expenditure of Rs 51 crore, an official statement said.

The Cabinet approved setting up of NIMHR under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the aegis of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.

It also approved the proposal to create three joint secretary-level posts — one post of director in the institute and two posts of professors.

“The main objectives of the NIMHR are to provide rehabilitation services to the people with mental illness, capacity development in the area of mental health rehabilitation, policy framing and advanced research in mental health rehabilitation,” the statement said.

The institute would have nine departments/ centres and would conduct 12 courses to offer diploma, certificate, graduate, post graduate, M Phil degrees in the area of mental health rehabilitation.

Within a span of five years, student intake of the institute in various courses was expected to be over 400, it said.

The Madhya Pradesh government has allocated five acres of land in Bhopal for this institute and it would be established in three years in two phases, it added.

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Residents stage protest at the accident site in Amritsar

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Joda Phatak (Punjab)|  A day after a train mowed down over 60 Dussehra revellers, scores of people staged a sit-in on railway tracks here on Saturday, demanding action against the erring officials and train driver and seeking adequate compensation for the victims.

The protesters raised slogans against the state government and demanded action against the train driver.

One of the protesters alleged the train passed through the area at a high speed and that the driver did not slow down the train despite the presence of a large crowd.

Later, police chased away the protesters when they tried to move towards residential areas from the railway tracks.

Police have barricaded the area to prevent the protesters from reassembling.

At least 61 people were killed and 72 injured Friday evening after a crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching burning of Ravana effigy was run over by a train near here, officials said.

The train was coming from Jalandhar when the accident occurred at Joda Phatak near Amritsar, where at least 300 people were watching ‘Ravana dahan’ at a ground adjacent to the tracks.

“Why did the government not ensure proper security arrangements at the time of Dussehra festival? Why such function was allowed to take place near railway tracks?” Sujit Singh, one of protesters, said.

Another protester demanded that the victims be given adequate compensation.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Friday announced immediate ex-gratia compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed.

Some protesters blocked the GT Road near the train accident site. They also demanded government jobs for the kin of those killed.

A resident blamed Navjot Kaur Sidhu, the wife of Punjab minister Navjot Sidhu who represents the area in the assembly, for the tragedy.

“The tragic incident could have been averted, had Navjot Kaur Sidhu turned up at the venue on time and had the function not been delayed,” said Deepak who works as a painter.

He said that every year, the effigy of Ravana was burnt between 5.30 pm and 6 pm, but this year it could not happen as Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who was the chief guest at the event, “got late”. The effigy was burnt around 7 pm. “Because of darkness, the tragedy occurred,” he added.

According to villagers, the burning of Ravana effigy as part of Dussehra celebrations has been taking place at the same venue for over 20 years. But, what has been a source of joy and excitement to the young and the old for over two decades turned out to be a nightmare on Friday.

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37 trains cancelled, 16 diverted day after Amritsar tragedy

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New Delhi | The railways cancelled 37 trains and diverted 16 trains on Saturday, a day after Dussehra revellers were mowed down by a train while they were watching the burning of a Ravan effigy while standing on the tracks near Amritsar, officials said.

Sixty-one people were killed and more than 70 injured in the tragedy.

Giving details, the railways said 10 mail/express trains and 27 passenger trains were cancelled. While 16 trains were diverted and reached their destination through a different route, 18 trains were short terminated, Northern Railways spokesperson Deepak Kumar said.

The route between Jalandhar and Amritsar was suspended, he said.

The railways maintains it had no information about the Dussehra function held near the tracks.

Chairman Railway Board Ashwani Lohani said in a statement that the accident occurred at a midsection between the Amritsar and Manawala stations and not at a level crossing.

“There was no information and no permission sought from us. The event took place at a place adjoining the railway land in private property,” he said.

“At midsections trains run at their assigned speeds and people are not expected to be on the tracks At midsections, there is no railway staff posted. We have staff at the level crossings whose job is to regulate traffic,” he added, explaining why the railways was not alerted about the congregation by its staff.

According to Lohani, the gateman was 400 metres away at a level crossing.

If the driver had applied emergency breaks, there could have been a bigger tragedy, he said.

The train was running at assigned speed and initial reports suggest that the driver applied brakes and the train slowed down, the top official said.

Refusing to assign any blame, Lohani, who visited the spot at midnight, said the national transporter has been carrying out campaigns exhorting people not to trespass.

“We will take that forward,” he said.

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Railways was not intimated about Dussehra event near tracks: Lohani

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New Delhi |The railways was not intimated about a Dussehra event along the tracks that led to the deaths of at least 61 people in Amritsar, Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani said in a statement.

He said that the accident occurred at a stretch between two stations — Amritsar and Manawala, and not at a level crossing.

“At midsections, trains run at their assigned speed and people are not expected to be on the tracks. At midsections, there is no railway staff posted. We have staff at level crossings whose job is to regulate traffic,” he said, explaining why the railways was not alerted about the congregation by its staff.

He said that the gateman was 400 metres away at a level crossing. He also said that if the driver had applied emergency breaks, there could have been a bigger tragedy.

He said that the train was running at its assigned speed and initial reports suggest that the driver applied brakes and the train slowed down.

“There was no information and no permission sought from us. The event took place at a place adjoining the railway land in private property,” he said.

Refusing to assign any blame, Lohani, who visited the spot at midnight, said that the national transporter has been carrying out campaigns exhorting people not to trespass. “We will take that forward,” he said.

At least 61 people were killed and 72 injured Friday evening after a crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching the burning of a Ravana effigy was run over by a train near here, officials said.

The train was coming from Jalandhar when the accident occurred at Joda Phatak near Amritsar, where at least 300 people were watching ‘Ravana dahan’ at a ground adjacent to the tracks.

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