• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

At least 15 dead as trains collide in India’s Bengal; Modi condoles

The incident happened in Darjeeling district of Bengal when the passenger train, Kanchenjunga Express — travelling from Silchar in the north-eastern state of Assam to Kolkata in Bengal, was hit from behind by the freight train.

People gather at the site after a goods train rammed into a passenger train travelling from Silchar in the north-eastern state of Assam to Sealdah in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, in Darjeeling in the morning of June 17, 2024. In this picture, one of the rear compartments of passenger train is seen hanging in the air after being hit by the locomotive of the freight train. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

AT LEAST 15 people were killed while 60 others were injured in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal on Monday (17) morning when a freight train collided with a passenger train from the rear. The deceased included some officials of the Indian Railways.

The incident happened in Darjeeling district in northern Bengal when the passenger train, Kanchenjunga Express — travelling from Silchar in the north-eastern state of Assam to Kolkata in Bengal, was hit from behind by the freight train near Rangapani railway station near New Jalpaiguri, the biggest and busiest railway terminal in north-east India located in Bengal.

The accident happened reportedly because the locomotive pilot of the goods train jumped the signal and rammed the train into the stationary passenger train.

Read: On Odisha rail disaster anniversary day, two freight trains collide in Punjab

The Indian Railways issued helpline numbers for the public to gather information about the accident.

Three rear compartments of the express train were derailed as a result of the crash. Lives were saved since in India, passenger trains comprise a cargo van and guard’s coach in the rear while those filled with passengers are kept in front.

The injured were shifted to local hospitals where they were receiving treatment. A top railway official said the train’s unaffected part would resume its onward journey so that the passengers can reach home.

Read: Drivers of train that crashed in India’s Andhra last year killing 14 were watching cricket

Prime minister Narendra Modi condoled the deaths and said he took stock of the situation and that railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw was on way to the site of the accident.

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted about the incident saying she was shocked to learn about the incident. She also said that teams of doctors and disaster teams had been sent to the spot.

Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw called the accident unfortunate in a post on X and said rescue operations were underway at war footing.

He also said that an enhanced ex-gratia compensation would be provided to the victims of the accident — Rs 10 lakh to the kin of the dead and Rs 2.5 lakh to those who suffered serious injuries and Rs 50,000 to those with minor ones.

Railway movement was hampered on the key route which connects mainland India with its north-eastern parts and is close to India’s border with China. Home minister Amit Shah condoled on X the deaths caused by the accident and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

“The railway accident in New Jalpaiguri, West Bengal is very sad. I express my condolences to those who have lost their loved ones in this unfortunate accident and wish for the speedy recovery of the injured,” she wrote in Hindi.

It was in June 2023 that an accident involving three trains — two of which were passenger ones — took place in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, resulting in deaths of nearly 300 people and injuries to more than 1,100.

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