Over 100 passengers were killed and 226 injured, 76 of them seriously, when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed near Pukhraya in Kanpur dehat district in the wee hours on Sunday.
Four coaches of the train – S1, S2, S3, S4- were badly damaged in the mishap that took place at around 3am near Pukhraya. Most of the passengers were jolted out of their sleep to find themselves among mangled remains of the bogies.
“More than 100 people have died, rescue operation is still underway,” Daljeet Singh Chaudhary (ADG, Law & order ,UP) told ANI.
He said 150 other passengers received minor injuries in the mishap. “90 bodies have been pulled out so far. There can be more bodies trapped,” Superintendent of Police, Kanpur Dehat Prabhakar Chowdhury told PTI over the phone.
Ahmad said, “Over 150 injured people have been rushed to nearby hospitals in the area. All hospitals have been asked to be alert. More than 30 ambulances have been pressed into service.”
A team of Army doctors and rescue officials have arrived at the spot. 250 police officials are also involved in carrying out the rescue and relief operations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the train tragedy. “Anguished beyond words on the loss of lives due to the derailing of the Patna-Indore express. My thoughts are with the bereaved families,” he said in a tweet.
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered a probe into the train tragedy and announced ex-gratia for the families of the victims.
Rs 3.5 lakh exgratia will be given for the families of those killed in the derailment and Rs 50,000 for those grievously injured, he said.
Prabhu said the Commissioner of Railway Safety will probe the reasons behind the derailment.
“All rescue and relief work is on to deal with the unfortunate accident. All medical and other help rushed.
Inquiry ordered. Situation monitored closely,” Prabhu said. Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha along with four senior railway officials have rushed to the accident spot.
MOS Railway Rajen Gohain said a fault in the tracks may have led to the derailment.
“We haven’t seen an incident like this in Indian Railways for a long time because we have taken a lot of safety measures.
“Earlier these kind of accidents used to happen because of the negligence of the driver but despite taking all safety measures this tragic incident took place.This is a cause of concern and we are investigating the reasons behind it.
“There must be a fault in the track as 14 bogeys have derailed and this happened despite regular checking of the tracks,” he said.
Taking stock of the situation, Home Minister Rajnath Singh asked the Director General of National Disaster Response Force to rush to the spot.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav announced ex-gratia for the families of those killed in the mishap.
While Rs 5 lakh each will be given for families of those killed in the derailment, Rs 50,000 will be given for seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for those with simple injuries.
The Chief Minister has instructed the DGP to personally monitor the relief operations and deploy traffic police along the route of the mishap site to ensure green corridor for ambulances to reach hospitals quickly.
Kanpur district officials have been instructed to take support of Indian Medical Association to avail the services of more doctors for extending medical support to train accident patients, the CM said.
More ambulances/roadways buses have been rushed to the spot for speedy relief operations, the CM said.
DG Health & ADG (Law and Order) have also been rushed to the accident spot to monitor the relief operations. Railways Ministry spokesperson Anil Saxena said several people have been rushed to nearby hospitals with injuries, and the casualties may go up.
Accident relief train has been rushed to the spot, he said. Northern Central Railways spokesperson Vijay Kumar said that doctors and senior railway officials have reached the spot.
Rescue and relief operations were being carried out by district administration and railway officials.
Though the cause of the derailment was not known immediately, sources said the nature and timing shows that the accident was caused by a rail fracture.
However, the exact reason would be known only after an inquiry.
Buses have been pressed into service to help passengers complete their journey, Kumar said, adding that the S2 coach was severely damaged. Four AC coaches have also been derailed.
Railways have made available the following helpline numbers — Indore-07411072, Ujjain- 07342560906, Ratlam- 074121072, Orai-051621072, Jhansi- 05101072, Pokhraya- 05113270239.
Talking to reporters here, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said the government will bear the cost of treatment of the injured, and they will be provided with the best facilities.
Sinha also said that two trains, one to Indore and one to Patna respectively will take passengers to their destination.
According to the information he received, the passengers felt a big jolt right before the train derailed.
The accident took place before the glitch in the track could be spotted, Sinha said, adding strict action will be taken against anyone implicated as a result of the investigation.
Meanwhile, NDRF Director General RK Pachnanda told PTI that a total of five teams of the special rescue force, comprising 45 personnel each, have been pressed into action at
the accident site.
“The rescue teams are deploying cutters and hydraulic equipment to ensure that all the trapped passengers are evacuated safely from the rail bogies,” the DG, who has reached the accident site, said.
“As the victims are trapped inside the bogies, due care and diligence is being taken into consideration.
NDRF responders are making all possible efforts to rescue the trapped victims with the help of multi-types of latest disaster management gadgets and tools.
So far, NDRF has rescued 53 passengers including 16 badly trapped from the bogies.
The operation is still in progress.
Some additional teams are also put on stand by and shall be mobilised as per demand,” the Force said in a statement.
Railway authorities ignored a passenger’s warning, night before the mishap
Even as the main cause of the train mishap which has now claimed 96 lives and injured over 200 is not known, a man from Mandsaur district who was travelling in the same train claims that the railway authorities ignored his warnings few hours before the incident took place.
According to this report by Pradesh 18, a regular traveller of the train Prakash Sharma, who was travelling in one of the now derailed coaches S-2, had informed the railway authorities that the wheels of the train are making more noise than usual. Sharma told the authorities that he sensed something was odd because he was a regular commuter of the train.
However, the TC and authorities ignored his concern saying that it’s a regular thing.
Later, Sharma got down at Ujjain station on Saturday night. His fears were later confirmed when he heard the news of the mishap.
The Pradesh 18 report quoted him as saying that the railway authorities should have taken his concern seriously.
With inputs from PTI
First Published On : Nov 20, 2016 15:21 IST