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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Kushinagar accident: Life at level crossing number 45 — Tales of death, calculated risk

Shiv Shankar Kushwaha, a representative of the village pradhan, says it was his tractor that had collided with a train at this crossing two years ago.

Written by Maulshree Seth | Kushinagar | Updated: April 27, 2018 8:58:10 am
Thirteen children killed as train hits van Crashed School Van hit by Train at padraun marurahi village of Kushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh,13 children lost thier life in this accident on Thursday. Express photo by Vishal Srivastav 26.04.2018

It’s 9.30 pm, and 14 hours have passed since an accident at unmanned level crossing no. 45 claimed the lives of 13 children. Traffic is back to normal. A train is approaching, but two bikes, a tractor and a few pedestrians hurriedly cross the tracks.

Seated on his motorcycle, Om Prakash Yadav waits while more vehicles cross over. “Ab risk nahi liya ja sakta (Can’t take a risk now),” he says. Minutes later, a police officer runs towards the spot, but there is no one left to stop.

The crossing is around 4 km away from Dudahi railway station. Railway officials say four passenger trains ply this stretch daily, while over 14,000 residents of Padraun Mudrai village cross it every day to access a community health centre and a road that leads to Kushinagar.

Read | Thirteen children killed as train hits van at unmanned railway crossing

A woman who lives near the crossing says she witnessed the accident. “I could hear a boy saying, ‘Meri didi ko bacha lo (please save my sister)’… Some time ago, a tractor was hit and the driver died here,” she says.

Shiv Shankar Kushwaha, a representative of the village pradhan, says it was his tractor that had collided with a train at this crossing two years ago. “I had complained to railway officials and sought a proper crossing but nothing happened. There is a railway mitra for this crossing but he is often not around,” he says.

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