At least 36 people were killed and over 150 injured on Friday when a passenger train overshot a signal and rammed into a ‘sand hump’ in Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli district, once again underlining the country’s poor rail safety record.
Northern Railway general manager AK Puthia said two bogies and the engine of the Dehradun-Varanasi Janata Express derailed at the Bachhrawan railway station, 50 km from Lucknow, at around 9 am.
Rescuers had to use gas cutters to reach into the mangled wreckage to find people trapped inside the coaches one of which was crushed by the impact of the crash.
“As the train entered Bachrawan station, the loco pilot overshot the signal and entered the sand hump line, causing derailment of the engine and two coaches,” Puthia said at the accident site.
The railways announced ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the severely injured and Rs 20,000 for those with minor injuries. Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav too announced Rs 2 lakh as ex gratia for each death and Rs 50,000 for the injured.
Officials and engineers from a nearby cement factory too rushed to the site to help railway employees in the rescue operations. They were soon joined by personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police based at Rae Bareli, 30km from the site.
In Uttarakhand’s capital Dehradun , where the train originated, and Haridwar, shocked family-members of passengers on the train rushed to the railway station for information on the accident.
Railway officials, however, said quoting preliminary reports that no passenger who boarded the train in the state were among the dead or injured.
Station superintendent of Haridwar MK Singh said “all 39 passengers who boarded the train are reportedly safe.”
Train movement on the Lucknow-Varanasi section was disrupted due to the accident, officials said adding a probe has been ordered to go into the causes of the incident.
In Delhi, railway minister Suresh Prabhu expressed grief over the loss of lives in the accident and announced setting up of a helpline to assist the victims.
The country’s railroad network is one of the world’s largest and carries more than 23 million passengers each day. But it is also one of the most accident-prone with an average of 16 accidents per month, according to a government study.
Lucknow: 09794830973, Varanasi: 0542-2503814, Pratapgarh: 0534-2223830, Rae Bareli: 0535-05352211224
(With agency inputs)
Video: 36 dead, 150 injured as Dehradun-Varanasi Janta Express derails