NEW DELHI: Even as nearly 40 per cent railway crossings in the country are unmanned, Union Railway Minister D V Sadananda Gowda on Thursday said the bus-train collision in Telangana killed 18 school children and the bus driver and the preliminary investigation reveals that negligent driving caused the accident.
Making a statement in the Lok Sabha on the incident, Gowda said the driver did not stop the vehicle at the stop board short of level crossing to check for approaching trains as prescribed in Section 131 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
“Visibility at the unmanned level crossing was clear from all sides and basic infrastructure such as road signs, speed breakers, whistle boards, levelled surface and proper approach roads are available,” he said.
Giving details of those killed, Gowda said: “Eighteen school children and the bus driver lost their lives whereas 18 children suffered injuries. The injured have been shifted to the nearby hospitals.”
He said the incident took place in Medak district of Telangana State at unmanned level crossing No.233-C which has a relatively low traffic density that is 4850 Train Vehicle Unit as per the last census.
The Railway Minister said that medical relief was immediately arranged to the injured persons by rushing the Accident Relief Medical Train (ARME) to site and also about 10 road ambulances. The injured children have been shifted to nearby hospitals with the assistance of the local public and civil authorities.
The Railways have announced an ex-gratia amount of `2 lakh each to the kin of the deceased, `1 lakh to the grievously injured and `20,000 to persons who sustained simple injury has been announced
In the rail Budget on July 8, Gowda had mentioned about government’s effort to eliminate unmanned level crossings. “The Railways had 30,348 level crossings, out of which 11563 are unmanned. Each unmanned level crossings is being examined in detail and action will be taken shortly,” he said.