JUST OVER a month after 150 people were killed when the Indore-Patna Express derailed in Kanpur Dehat on November 20, 63 people were injured in another train derailment in the district on Wednesday morning. At least 22 passengers are reported to have suffered serious injuries.
Fourteen coaches of the Sealdah-Ajmer Express went off the tracks at Rura in Kanpur Dehat district at about 5:30 am on Wednesday. Two coaches slipped off a bridge and fell into a canal, while at least two coaches hit the platform of Rura station.
“Prima facie we can say that the derailment happened because of a fault either in the coaches or the track. As the track is fractured in many places, it could be a reason; or it could be due to uncoupling of coaches, or both. The exact picture will be clear after an inquiry,” said Allahabad Divisional Railway Manager Sanjay Kumar Pankaj. He said the train driver felt a jerk before the coaches were derailed.
The government announced an inquiry by Commissioner Railway Safety, Northern Circle, Shailesh Kumar Pathak. Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted that a “thorough investigation” would be done to ascertain the cause of the derailment.
Pankaj said a goods train had passed on the same track just before the accident. The route is one of the busiest in the country as it connects Delhi with Kanpur, Allahabad, Patna and Howrah. “It is true that this is a busy route and faces a lot of pressure. But the maintenance is done as per the requirements,” said Pankaj.
While the injured were taken to Kanpur Dehat district hospital, 22 were later shifted to the Lala Lajpat Rai Hospital in Kanpur City. Four passengers who suffered spinal injuries and a seven-year-old girl with a head injury are under critical care. The girl, Shreya, was travelling with her parents and younger sister.
“We were in the S-12 coach. Shreya was sleeping on the upper berth. She fell on the floor as the coach derailed, and got hit by something on her head. We were all sleeping at the time of the accident. I found Shreya stuck below a berth,” said her father, Uttam Shaw, a resident of Kolkata.
“It was almost dawn. We woke up when we heard the noise. We came out and saw the derailed train. Within a few minutes, the police and residents reached the spot. Most of the passengers managed to come out on their own. A few were rescued by the policemen,” said Suresh Kumar, whose house is close to the accident site.