Local resident Amit Kumar told the BBC the celebrations were a regular occurrence: "Every year, people sit on the tracks when festivities take place here".
In their letter seeking the certificate, the organisers had also asked for security arrangements, citing the expected presence of Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and his wife, former MLA Navjot Kaur Sidhu, at the event. In fact local people were very well aware that it was a busy section where trains pass nearly every 10 minutes.
Condolences have been pouring in from across the world to the families of the victims of the Amritsar train tragedy. The family is untraceable since a few people angry over the accident attacked their residence, broke window panes and threw stones.
Almost 150 people, most of who were watching the burning of effigies or were recording the event on their mobile phones, were mowed down by the train.
Mr Singh said he was in Delhi and was to leave for Tel Aviv, Israel when he heard of the accident.
Police have said that numerous victims were dismembered beyond recognition, and it will take several days to identify the dead.
The Chief Minister said he was rushing to the accident site to "personally supervise relief & rescue", while announcing a relief of Rs. 5 lakh to the kin of each deceased and free treatment for the injured at government as well as private hospitals.
It also said that neither the area administration nor the organisers informed it about any Dussehra ceremony at the spot.
An eyewitness said no alarm was raised when the train was approaching and blamed the administration. "Our function had nothing to do with the railways". Claiming that there were over 40 policemen present at the event site when the train mowed down over 50 people, he told The Print, "I met DCP (Amrik Singh) Powar before organising the whole thing".
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who is now in the USA, said he will be immediately returning. "There was no information and no permission sought from us".
At least 61 people died after a speedy train rammed into the people celebrating the festival of Dussehra around the railway track near Amritsar on Friday. At midsections, there is no railway staff posted.
If the driver had applied emergency breaks, there could have been a bigger tragedy, he said.
But Kaur, whose husband, Navjyot Singh Sidhu, is a former Indian Test cricketer and now a state minister, said effigies were burnt at six places in Amritsar and a lot of them were in fields near the tracks.
Amritsar: Funeral pyres were lit in batches at Amritsar's cremation grounds on Saturday for 39 of those killed when a train from Jalandhar tore through people standing on the tracks for a better view of Ravana going up in flames on Dussehra, Friday.
Initial reports suggest the mishap occurred during a stampede as people rushed towards the tracks when crackers were burnt in large numbers during the burning of the Ravana effigy near the tracks.