20 dead, 100 injured in train disaster in Uttar Pradesh

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20 dead, 100 injured in train disaster in Uttar PradeshJuly 10 (IANS) Lucknow: At least 20 people were killed and more than 100 injured Sunday when 14 coaches of the Kalka-bound Kalka Mail ran off the rails in Uttar Pradesh, leaving many passengers trapped in the mangled mess.

20 dead, 100 injured in train disaster in Uttar Pradesh

Villagers and rescue workers frantically tried to cut open overturned coaches and free people trapped in them even hours after the disaster at Malwan in Fatehpur district, some 150 km from Lucknow. Seven of the coaches were capsized and badly mangled, including the pantry car and the air-conditioned coaches, officials said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed shock over the accident, the second involving a train in three days. Thirty-eight people were killed in Kanshiram Nagar, also in Uttar Pradesh, Thursday when the Chhapra-Mathura Express rammed into a bus at an unmanned railway crossing.

The reason for the latest accident was not immediately known. The derailment happened as the train, running at over 100 km per hour, was approaching the Malwan railway station shortly after noon and the driver reportedly applied emergency brakes. The Uttar Pradesh Police put the toll at 20 dead and warned it could go up. “Twenty bodies have been recovered… It won’t be surprising if more than 50 people are killed. Many bodies are still trapped inside the coaches,” Special Director General of Police Brij Lal told IANS.

More than 200 policemen joined villagers, who were the first to reach the site, to rescue passengers and take the injured to hospitals, he said. The train, carrying about 1,000 passengers, was bound for Kalka in Haryana. It was coming from Howrah in West Bengal. Pradeep Ojha, a senior development operations manager of North Central Railway (NCR), said a number of people were still trapped in the coaches. “This train was going almost at full speed and skidded inside the station territory. About 10 coaches are in badly crushed condition,” NCR general manager Harish Chandra Joshi said. More than 100 people are likely to be injured, he added.

Rescuing people from inside the overturned compartments turned out to be a tough job in the absence of specialised equipment and professionals. Some of the badly injured were put on large pieces of cloth and rushed to the nearest vehicle to be taken to hospitals in Fatehpur town, 17 km away. Many of the injured limped with their luggage. Others looked dazed. A few crawled out of windows after breaking open the glass. Some passengers frantically appealed to their families using television reporters to seek help.

Both the central and the Uttar Pradesh governments announced compensation for the victims. Minister of State for Railways K.H. Muniyappa told the media before leaving for the disaster site that families of the dead would be given Rs.5 lakh and the seriously injured Rs.100,000. Those with simple injuries would get Rs.25,000. “We will have an investigation,” he said. As the derailed coaches had fallen on rows of adjoining tracks, the railways cancelled 12 trains and diverted 23.

Railway officials said that two relief trains – from Kanpur and Allahabad – have been sent to the spot. Another train would take the passengers unaffected by the accident to New Delhi, Joshi said. India’s rail network is one of the largest in the world and carries about 14 million passengers a day.

35 killed, 200 injured as Delhi-bound train derails in U.P.

July 10 (The Hindu) At least 35 people were killed and over 200 injured when 15 bogies of a speeding Delhi-bound Kalka Mail derailed in Fatehpur on Sunday in the worst train accident this year.

The derailment took place at 12.20 p.m. when the packed train from Howrah reached near Malwan station, about 120 km from Lucknow. “15 bogies of the train derailed out of which 10 are in bad shape. The exact cause of the derailment is being ascertained.

The Commissioner of Railway Safety has been directed to probe the incident,” General Manager, North Central Railway H.C. Joshi said. He said the train was speeding at about 108 kmph when the accident occurred. “It was almost moving at the speed of 108 kmph which is full speed,” Mr. Joshi said. Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Fatehpur, K.N. Joshi said 35 of the passengers had died. “About 200 injured are undergoing treatment here.” “Rescue workers have not been able to enter two of the bogies,” Superintendent of Police, Fatehpur, Ram Bharose said, adding the dead included women and children.

While some of the bogies had toppled, others were turned into mangled heap of metal. The crowded general compartment behind the engine was the worst hit. Gas cutters and other equipment were used to cut through the metal in the AC and other coaches to rescue the trapped passengers. “A number of passengers are still inside the bogies and attempts are on to take them out,” officials said several hours after the accident. Local residents, railway and district authorities immediately launched the rescue operation.

The Army has also sent about 120 personnel from adjoining Allahabad and Kanpur to assist them. A team of National Disaster Relief Force was also deployed. Two relief trains — one each from Allahabad and Kanpur — have reached the spot. Another relief train was also sent from Delhi, Minister of State for Railways Mukul Roy said, adding helplines have been opened at both the Howrah and Delhi stations. Mr. Roy said families of the dead would be given an ex-gratia of Rs. 5 lakh, while the seriously injured would get Rs. 1 lakh and those with minor injuries would be given Rs. 25,000. “Instructions have been issued to rush the injured to the nearest hospital or nursing homes at the earliest. The Railways would bear the cost of their treatment,” Mr. Roy said.

Railway Board chairman Vinay Mittal has rushed to the accident site along with the board’s Member (Mechanical) and Member (Electrical) as well as other senior railway officials from the North Central Railways (NCR) headquarters. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who recently resigned as the Railway Minister, was keeping a watch on the situation, Mr. Roy said, adding, “She has also spoken to me.” Eyewitnesses told reporters that the driver of the train was among those injured in the mishap. Anxious relatives and friends of the passengers, many of them in tears, gathered at Howrah, Kanpur and other stations to enquire about the fate of their loved ones. However, they faced a difficult time as information was trickling in at a slow pace.

The Eastern Railway said it will run a special train from Howrah to take relatives of passengers to Malwan. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed deep sorrow and shock at the loss of lives in the rail accident and directed the Railway Ministry to deploy all available resources in the area for rescue and relief operations. Dr. Singh also spoke to the Minister of State for Railways about the incident.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has condoled the loss of lives and announced compensation of Rs. 1 lakh each to the kin of those who died, Rs. 50,000 to seriously injured and Rs. 25,000 for those having minor injuries. The mishap led to disruption of railway traffic on the Allahabad-Kanpur route leading to the cancellation of a couple of trains and diversion of several others. The Allahabad-Meerut Sangam Express, both up and down, have been cancelled. Besides, trains running on the down route are now being run via Lucknow.

A couple of helicopters have been despatched to the site of the incident to airlift the injured, Defence spokesman Group Captain Amit Mahajan told PTI. “Following a request from the Railway authorities, two helicopter have been flown in from the Central Air Command headquarters at Allahabad to the site of the mishap in Fatehpur,” he said.

Besides, the Red Eagle Division of the Indian Army has also sent a team of engineers for carrying out relief work, Capt. Mahajan said. News Gathered by

India News

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