Motilal, 40, was just half an hour journey away from Kanpur when one of the worst train accidents ever killed four of his friends on Sunday afternoon. The group of 60 traveling in the Howrah-Delhi-Kalka Express from Asansol, was heading towards Kanpur to attend a reception ceremony.
Motilal, a railway employee, ran pillar to post to locate his lost friends. And no one came to his rescue. Instead he was at the receiving end of police anger while attempting to identify the bodies. Dozens of survivors of the accident including Motilal are a harried lot. Thanks to the mismanagement at the hands of local and railway authorities. Despite pleading to all the concerned officials present on the site, people were not getting any information of those who accompanied them.
"They should provide us with the list so that we can identify them. They do not even listen to you. I have checked in all the hospitals but to no effect," he said.
While the men in uniform were busy rescuing passengers trapped inside the mangled bogies, scores of people were searching for their dear ones who accompanied them. Things were more chaotic with those who traveled without reservations in general or sleeper class.
Ajay Kumar Singh had come all the way from Bihar for the whereabouts of his brothers, Amrinder Kumar Singh and Arun Kumar Singh. The two accompanied 11 others to Shimla were they work on daily wage basis. "Both of them left the general compartment without informing us. Now 11 of us are together, we cannot find the other two," Singh added. He however showered praises on the locals who rendered the much needed help to the survivors.
Admitting to the miscommunication, railway officials said that the final list of the causalities could not be produced before the rescue operations are over. RK Mehta director general of Railway Protection Force was directed by Vinay Mittal, chairman railway board to make the list as soon as possible.
The officials also said that it was impossible to furnish the final list of deaths as a good number of people travel without tickets.
"Sleeper coaches and general compartments were packed with unauthorised passengers. Their names would feature only after they are identified," HC Joshi, general manager North Central Railway said.