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Lalu oversees security for Samjhauta Express
February 22, 2007 00:24 IST
Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav on Tuesday night visited Old Delhi Railway Station to oversee security arrangements for the Samjhauta Express, which will make its first journey to Lahore after the deadly Sunday blasts near Panipat.
The minister went around the station for about half an hour along with senior ministry officials and security personnel inspecting security arrangements, and met passengers of the 'Friendship Train'.
Four security barricades were put up from the entrace of the station to platform no. 18 from where the train is to chug out and only ticket-holding passengers were allowed on the platform.
Owing to a heavy rush for tickets for the trans-border train, the railways decided to attach two more reserved compartments to it.
Now, the train will have 10 coaches instead of 14 earlier.
The stringent security checks delayed the departure of the train, which was scheduled to leave at 10.50 pm, by 70 minutes.
As part of enhanced security measures after Sunday's blasts in the train which killed 68 people, mostly Pakistanis, the railways has decided to remove unreserved coaches from the train.
Expressing satisfaction over the arrangements made for the journey, Lalu Prasad said every effort would be made to ensure that harmonious relations are maintained between India and Pakistan.
"We have posted two railway police personnel and a ticket examiner in each compartment. We have also decided to run only reserved coaches.
It will be a vestibule train so that passengers can escape from one compartment to another in case of any incident like fire," he said.
Lalu Prasad termed the attack a "carnage" by terrorist elements aimed at spoling the cordial relations between the two neighbours. "We will not allow such incidents to happen again," he added.
He said stringent punishment would be given to security personnel and railway officials for laxity in duty and there will be no room for complacency.
The minister said the Thar Express and Samjhauta Express would be given adequate security. "I have also asked the officials to put new coaches and clean existing ones," he said.