Two people were killed when the Jind-Ferozpur passenger train crashed into a Maruti Zen car stranded in its path on Thursday near here.
The accident occurred at 10.50am on an abandoned railway crossing on the Ferozepur road near Aklian Kalan village. Dharm Singh and Karamjeet Kaur of Khemuana village were the victims.
The car had stalled on the railway tracks, and Karamjeet's son, Baljinder Singh, had come out to push it to safety when the doors got locked. The train was in sight already, and it took seconds to hit the car in which Karamjeet and Dharam were trapped.
Baljinder tried until the last moment to save his mother and uncle. He sustained minor scratches, and took treatment for it at a hospital. This tragedy could have been averted, had the Railways not abandoned the work to install a barrier at this unmanned point.
Angry over the accident, the villagers of Aklian Kalan blocked railway traffic for three hours and sought the arrest of the contractor who had stalled the barrier work. Station house officer Sikander Singh of the railway police force (RPF) agreed to take action, which got the blockade over.
It was waiting to happen
Many accidents in the past have occurred at the sites of half-built and abandoned guardrooms. "A few months ago, a guard was around to alert everyone passing by the track. Since the construction of gate started, there's no one at the crossing to give signal to people," said Swaran Singh, a villager of Aklian Kalan. "The barrier project, abandoned for the past four months, is mere eight days' work."
The villagers see the contractor was the villain of this tragedy for abandoning the work, which caused the accident. "The Railways have torn down the guardroom four times," said villager Sardool Singh. "The construction is now stalled permanently."