GUWAHATI/NEW DELHI: At least three people were killed and 50 injured when a Guwahati-bound train hit a road construction vehicle at an unmanned crossing near here Friday morning, a railway official said. Five coaches went off the tracks while four other coaches overturned under the impact.
The Chilarai Passenger Express was coming from New Bongaigaon station in lower Assam when it hit a JCB vehicle at Gosaikhat area near Mirza, 15 km from here, at around 9.45 a.m., said railway public relations officer S. Hajong.
"At an unmanned crossing near Gosaikhat, it hit a JCB which was trying to cross over," Hajong said.
While three people were killed in the collision, 50 others were injured, including 16 seriously, local police said.
The critically injured have been shifted to the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), while others have been admitted to the railway hospital in Maligaon and in some private hospitals.
Railway ministry sources in New Delhi said prima facie cause of the accident is negligence of the JCB driver Bipul Kalita. The other fatalities were site engineer Dhirani Kalita, engaged in the road construction project and who was travelling in the JCB, and train passenger Hiren Sarkar.
The sources said commissioner, railway safety in the railway zone, will conduct the mandatory probe into the accident.
The sources said compensation to the dead and the injured would be paid as per rules.
GMCH superintendent Dr. Ramen Talukdar said eight critically injured passengers were brought to the hospital, and the condition of three was serious.
A.K. Manocha, the divisional regional manager of the NF Railway (Rangia Division), blamed the accident on the JCB for trying to cross the unmanned level crossing when the train was approaching.
"The train was at a normal speed of 60 km per hour. There was clear visibility and the JCB should not have tried to cross over when the train was nearing," Manocha said.
The NFR sources said the movement of trains has been stopped as of now through the track as it needs repair and normal movement will be resumed within 10 hours.
Assam Agriculture Minister Nilamoni Sen Deka visited the accident site. He said the government had taken up with the railway authorities the issue of unmanned level crossings across the state and the railways have assured to arrange for manning all crossings in a phased manner.
A unit of the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) along with central relief team reached the spot to help locals who started rescue operations immediately after the incident.