Fatehpur/Guwahati, July 10, 2011
At least 37 people were killed and over 270 injured today when over a dozen coaches of two superfast Express trains got derailed in Uttar Pradesh and Assam.
At least 37 people were killed and over 200 injured when 12 coaches of the 12311 Up Howrah-Kalka Mail derailed near Malwan railway station on the Howrah-Delhi route of the North-Central railway in Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh.
In another mishap, at least 70 people were injured, 30 of them critically, when a suspected blast derailed four coaches and overturned four others of the Guwahati-Puri Express in lower Assam's Nalbari district this evening.
Police sources here said 37 passengers have been killed in Kalka Mail accident and the death toll could rise as many passengers were still trapped inside two derailed coaches. However, unconfirmed report put the death toll at over 50.
More than 250 injured are undergoing treatment in different hospitals. As many as 190 of them were admitted to the district hospital here and 54 were admitted to private nursing homes in Kanpur and Fatehpur.
Four helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) were deployed to help in the rescue operations. Several seriously injured passengers were rushed to hospital by army jawans.
Passengers of the ill-fated train complained of delay in the rescue and relief efforts by the Railways.
A special train has been made available from Kanpur for the passengers of the Kalka Mail for their onward journey. Besides, food packets and water bottles have been provided to the passengers, railway officials said.
NCR spokesman Sandeep Mathur told UNI from Allahabad that the derailed coaches included two AC three-tier, one AC two-tier, two general, five sleeper, one pantry and an SLR coach.
He said 11 coaches had been totally damaged and gas cutters were being used to bring out the passengers from the derailed coaches. The train was running at a speed of 108 kms per hour when the accident occurred.
"A medical relief train with seven doctors and medical equipment has reached from Allahabad. A similar train from Kanpur has also reached the spot," Mr Mathur said.
All the derailed coaches either had overturned or climbed onto other coaches, he said.
Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal, along with some of the members of the Board and the Director General of Railway Protection Force (RPF), has rushed to the spot.
The Railways announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh for the next of kin of those killed in the mishap, Rs 1 lakh for the critically injured and Rs 25,000 for those with minor injuries.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has expressed her grief over the accident and announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh for the kin of the deceased, Rs 50,000 for the critically injured and Rs 25,000 for victims with minor injuries.
State Cooperative Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party state president Swami Prasad Maurya, along with UP Chief Secretary Anoop Mishra, have reached the spot and were supervising the relief and rescue operations.
Rescue efforts had picked up with Army jawans taking full control of the operation. A 150-member team from National Disaster Response Force had also reached the scene. Railway officials said the rescue work would continue overnight. Official said the restoration of the route would take at least 48 hours.
The railway officials were yet to establish the cause of the derailment.
In the district hospital, there was a shortage of beds and many of the injured were forced to lie on the floor. Most of the deceased were yet to be identified except for one Kallo Devi (35) of Kanpur. A woman died with her infant child on her lap.
The railways have asked Commissioner Railway Safety P K Vajpayee to inquire into the accident.
Regarding the second incident, Northeast Frontier Railway sources said it occurred at Bhatkuchi, between Rangiya and Ghograpar railway stations.
The train had left Guwahati railway station at 1915 hours on its way to Puri and the accident occurred at about 2020 hours, the sources said.
Four coaches of the train derailed and fell into a paddy field, while four more overturned. All the coaches involved were those immediately behind the engine.
The sources said preliminary findings pointed towards a blast on the tracks, though confirmation is yet to be received. Passengers of the ill-fated train as well as people of nearby villages also claimed that they had heard a loud explosion just before the accident.
The injured were being rushed to Rangiya and Guwahati, where the state government has issued orders for treatment of the victims on a priority basis. The condition of at least 30 injured was stated to be critical.
Rescue and relief teams have reached the spot and were trying to ensure that no person was trapped in the coaches as well as providing medical aid to those injured.
The main railway line through the section has been blocked following the incident and trains were being diverted via Goalpara, the sources said.
The NFR has set up following helpline numbers after the accident: 0361-2737154/2737155/2731621/622/623 and 9957554804.