Eleven village officials were killed and five were grievously injured when a train smashed into their chartered bus near Kancheepuram, 90 kms from Chennai, on Monday morning.
Twenty two village administrative officers from Vellore district were coming to Chennai for a VAO conference. On the way they took a short detour to a temple. When their mini bus attempted to cross an unmanned level crossing near Govindavadi Agaram village a local passenger train ploughed into the bus, dragging it for a few hundred metres.
While eight VAOs were killed on the spot three died of injuries in the Kancheepuram GH. K. Raja, IG of Government Railway Police, blamed the bus driver (who too was killed) for driving through the level crossing without taking the necessary precaution of stopping and looking for a train.
Only six months ago 17 people traveling in a share auto had been killed at another unmanned crossing about 5 kms from Monday’s accident spot. Though Railways promised to improve safety measures at unmanned crossings after that accident there was little progress as Monday's tragedy testified.