At least three passengers were killed and several others were injured when 11 coaches of the Howrah-bound Dehradun Express derailed after leaving Mehrawa railway station in Jaunpur district on Thursday. While the district administration said four persons have died,unconfirmed reports put the number of deaths at seven. Railway officials said the toll may go up.
Northern Railway officials claimed that most of the passengers trapped in the coaches have been evacuated and rushed to nearby hospitals. The cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained.
Before leaving for the accident site from Kolkata,Railway Minister Mukul Roy said the Railways was not ruling out sabotage as the cause of the accident. My member (engineering) held a press conference in Delhi in which he said the Railways were not ruling out sabotage. We have ordered a high-level inquiry. Accidents are happening too often,we want to know why,we are worried, Roy said.
Railway Board member (engineering) A P Mishra told reporters that the assistant loco pilot saw cracks on the tracks,which could have been due to heat.
Roy announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased,Rs 1 lakh for the grievously injured,and Rs 25,000 for passengers with minor injuries. A job will be offered to the next of kin of the deceased,Roy said.
His party chief and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also hinted at sabotage. As is done by the Railways,this time too there has to be an investigation on whether it was an accident or incident engineered by some people, she said.
Chief Public Relations Officer (Northern Railway) Neeraj Sharma said the casualty figure till the reports last came in was three. It may go up as a couple of passengers may have come under the wreckage of the coaches that have turned turtle. The number of injured as per our information is 15, he said.