In a tragic accident, four children were killed and 19 injured after a schol bus collided with a train at an unmanned railway crossing at Kot Mehtaab near Beas, 45km from Amritsar, on Monday morning.
The deceased have been identified as Sehajpreet Kaur (13), Manpreet Kaur (16), Palakpreet Kaur (9) and Komalpreet Kaur (12).
As the bus carrying 23 students of the Baba Majha Singh Karamjot Senior Secondary School was going from Kot Mehtab to Bhalojla, the accident took place at the unmanned crossing. The train was going from Beas to Goindwal Sahib.
The injured students and the residents claimed that accident took place due to the negligence of driver Milkha Singh, as he did not hear the requests of the students to slow down as the train was approaching.
Even though, it was a train having a single coach, the impact was such that the school bus was virtually crushed and was thrown meters away on the track.
Villagers rushed to the site and passengers from the train came out to get the students out of the school bus.
The injured students were rushed to the Beas hospital whereas three students who were critically injured were admitted in Amritsar’s civil hospital.
Eye witness Jagdish Kumar, who heard the sound and immediately rushed to help the kids, said, “I, along with one of the villager heard the sound and rushed to the site. The accident scene was shocking and the kids were bleeding. It was very tough to get them out of the bus as it was badly damaged."
The injured students told that the bus driver was ignorant and did not stop even though the students shouted that a train was approaching, he added.
A pall of gloom had descended in village Bhulle Nangal from where all the deceased students hailed.
The residents complained that apart from the fault of the bus driver, the authorities also have failed to do away with the unmanned rail crossings.
Jalandhar deputy commissioner Priyank Bharti visited the Beas Hospital where students were admitted and said, “It is a very unfortunate incident and the preliminary probe has indicated that the accident took place due to negligence of the school bus driver. The driver will face legal action."
On questioning, the deputy commissioner said, “A compensation of Rs. One Lakh for the kin of deceased has been announced by Government and also free treatment to injured kids will be ensured."
The railway police have registered a case under section 279, 427, 337, 338, 304 IPC against driver of the school bus Milkha Singh. Milkha who was also injured in this accident was under treatment at a hospital.
'Driver was wearing headphones, never listened to our cries'
Nursing injuries in Amritsar hospital a seventh class student Harpreet Singh said, “We students were in the bus like routine day. But suddenly when we approached towards the unmanned crossing, we spotted a train coming. We all students shouted and asked the driver to stop bus but the driver was wearing headphones and did not listen to us.
“I feel he also did not see the train coming and led to the accident. I don’t know what happened after the impact. There were cries in the bus and many students fell unconscious."
Harpreet is brother of two sisters who died in this accident.
Ranjit Kaur, mother of injured student Jashanpreet Singh said, “I just got a phone call that accident has happened. It is very shocking that four children have died. I am told that it happened due to negligence of bus driver."
Efforts are on to close various unmanned crossings: DRM
Terming the incident unfortunate, divisional railway manager of the Ferozepur division, Naresh Chand Goel said, “The railways is planning to close the unmanned crossings that are at a closer distances. Other than this, railways over bridges are also planned at some places. I have talked to the injured students and they told that bus driver was wearing headphones and never listened to their cries."