GORAKHPUR: At least 12 persons were killed and 45 injured when the driver of a passenger train overshot the signal and collided head-on with another train near here in Uttar Pradesh late on Tuesday.
The loco pilots of the passenger train have been suspended an an inquiry has been ordered An inquiry has been ordered by Railways under Commissioner Railway Safety, Eastern Circle to ascertain the cause of the accident.
The Manduadih-Lucknow Krishak Express was required to stop at signal of Gorakhpur Cantt but the driver overshot it and it collided with Lucknow-Barauni Express which was leaving Gorakhpur Cantt station towards Chhapra. As a result, three coaches of Barauni Express were badly damaged.
“Prima-facie cause of the accident was reported as overshooting of signal by driver of Krishak Express,” said a statement issued by Railway Ministry adding that driver and assistant driver of Krishak Express have been suspended.
Railway Minister D V Sadananda Gowda accompanied by Chairman of Railway Board Arunendra Kumar and other officials visited the accident site.
He has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the next kin of the dead, Rs 1 lakh each to grievously injured passengers and Rs 20,000 to those who sustained simple injuries. He also directed that best available treatment be provided to the injured.
Movement of trains on Gorakhpur-Varanasi track was disrupted following the incident and a few trains have been diverted.
Eyewitnesses said that several people were trapped in the mangled coaches after the collision.
“There was a big jolt. Then we saw a coach of the train upside down. My uncle came under the train. Many lost their limbs in front of my eyes,” said one of them.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also announced Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia to the dead and Rs 50,000 to seriously injured from the PM’s Relief Fund.
The Railways had initially terminated a few of the trains following the accident but services were restored by 9 am on Wednesday.
This is the third rail mishap witnessed in the country in the last four months. In May, four persons were killed when Rajdhani Express derailed in Bihar and in July a bus-train collision at an unmanned railway crossing in Telangana killed 18 school children and the bus driver.
The Railways has set up Helplines at various places including at Gorakhpur -0551-2203265, Gonda 05262-229634, Lucknow 0522-2233042, Varanasi 0542-2226778, 0542 - 2224742, Hajipur, 06224 - 272230, Siwan - 09693690854, Sonpur - 06158-221639, Chhapra -09006693233, Gorakhpur Cantt -0551-2203149.