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Kanchanjunga Express accident: 9 dead, Ashwini Vaishnaw meets injured at hospital; rescue ops over

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw reached the accident site in West Bengal and took stock of the situation. He also visited the hospital where the injured ones were shifted and met them.

Edited By: Ashesh Mallick @asheshmallick07 Darjeeling Updated on: June 18, 2024 6:24 IST
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw
Image Source : INDIA TV Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw

Kanchanjunga Express accident: Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Monday (June 17) reached the spot where a speeding freight train collided with the stationed Kanchanjunga Express near Rangapani station in the Darjeeling district in West Bengal and took stock of the situation. He said that the rescue operation has been completed and the focus has now shifted to the restoration of the tracks as “this is the main line”. He said that he would meet the injured.

“Right now our focus is on restoration. This is the main line. The rescue operation has been completed. This is not the time for politics. I will also meet the injured,” he said.

Vaishnaw added that measures will be taken to prevent a recurrence of the circumstances that led to the accident. "The accident will be thoroughly investigated by the Commissioner of Railway Safety," Vaishnaw told reporters.

Railway Minister meets injured at the hospital

Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw visited North Bengal Medical College in Siliguri and met the injured.

Mamata slams government over accident

Alleging that the railways have become "totally parentless", West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed that it was only keen on increasing fares and not improving passenger amenities.

Banerjee visited the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital in Siliguri and met the victims of the train accident near Rangapani, and directed the district administration to extend every possible assistance to them.

"The railways have become totally parentless. Though the ministry is there, the old glory is missing. Only beautification is being done, but they do not care about passenger amenities. They are only keen on hiking fares," she told reporters at the Kolkata airport on the way to Siliguri.

The "Up line" has been cleared and train operations have started, it said and added that "the 'Down line' will also be cleared shortly". The Kanchanjunga express, going to Sealdah in West Bengal from Agartala in Tripura, was on the "Down line" and a goods train rammed into it from behind near the New Jalpaiguri station, around 600 km from Kolkata.

Government announces ex-gratia

Earlier in the day, Vaishnaw announced enhanced ex-gratia after a major train accident involving a goods train and the Kanchanjungha Express near New Jalpaiguri on Monday. At least 9 people lost their lives and over 60 got injured in the accident. "Enhanced ex-gratia compensation will be provided to the victims; ₹10 Lakh in case of death, ₹2.5 Lakh towards grievous and ₹50,000 for minor injuries," he posted on X.

He emphasised that the injured had been transferred to a hospital for treatment. "Unfortunate accident in NFR zone. Rescue operations going on at war footing. Railways, NDRF and SDRF are working in close coordination. Injured are being shifted to the hospital. Senior officials have reached site," Vaishnaw wrote on X.

The compensation comes after PM Modi's announcement for ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh from PMNRF (Prime Minister's National Relief Fund). "PM @narendramodi has announced that an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of each deceased in the railway mishap in West Bengal. The injured would be given Rs. 50,000," the PMO posted on X.

9 passengers died and 60 others were injured, after three rear coaches of the Sealdah-bound Kanchanjunga Express derailed on Monday morning as a goods train collided with it in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district, officials said.

(With ANI inputs)

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