Jaunpur (UP), May 31: Five persons were today killed and 50 others injured when seven bogies—five sleeper and two general coaches—of Howrah-Dehradun Doon Express derailed near Mahrawa station here.
“Five persons have been killed and 50 injured in the accident,” Superintendent of Police (SP), Jaunpur, Akash Kulhari told PTI.
The accident took place near Mahrawa under the Lucknow Division of Northern Railway at 1.13 PM when five sleeper (S4 to S8) and two general coaches derailed, Railway Ministry spokesman Anil Saxena said in Delhi.
“While four of the coaches got tilted, three of them derailed. So the coaches which are affected are the 11th onwards from the engine, upto the 17th coach,” he said.
The region, where accident took place, does not have good road connectivity. Relief and rescue teams have been rushed to the spot from Varanasi and Lucknow, a senior official said.
“We have directed the district magistrate to provide essential medical services. All nearby hospitals have been alerted to provide timely medical aid to the affected people”, ADG Railways Gurdarshan Singh said, adding directives have also been issued to make arrangement of water tankers and eatables for those stranded at the spot.
He said Principal Secretary (Home) R M Srivastava has directed UP Roadways buses to ferry people from the affected area.
On the possible cause for the accident, Railway Board member A P Mishra said that exact cause has to be ascertained.
It could have been “due to excessive heat causing track expansion or some miscreant activity,” he said, adding that the railway track could be cleared by tomorrow morning.
“Assistant Loco Pilot has infomed railway officials that he had seen some obstruction in the track and he tried to apply brake. While 10 coaches passed, the last seven bogies derailed”, Mishra said, adding that Railway Minister Mukul Roy is likely to reach the spot tonight.
On May 22 in Penukonda in Andhra Pradesh, 25 passengers were killed, 16 of them charred, and 43 injured when the Bangalore-bound Hampi Express rammed into a stationary goods train after its driver apparently overshot the signal near the station.
Quoting the district magistrate and the superintendent of police of the area, about 70 kms from Varanasi, Mishra said the toll may rise but not substantially. The train was on its way from Howrah to Dehradun.
The train was running at 95 kms per hour when the driver suddenly applied the brake after seeing “some obstruction” on the track, he said.
The reason for the accident “will be known after the inquiry only. What the driver has stated is that he saw some obstruction on the track and the train was at 95 kms speed. He applied the brake and the speed got reduced to 65 kms. As a result, seven coaches were affected,” he said.
“Initial reports have suggested that there was some deformity in the track. The track wasn't in proper shape. There was some kind of obstruction on the track...There can primarily be two reasons for this (accident).
“One that the temperature is too much these days. Due to heat, the tracks expand. There are chances of buckling. The second reason may be because of some miscreant activity,” Mishra said.
Meanwhile, the Railway Minister, who was in Kolkata, has announced a compensation of Rs five lakh for the next of kin of those killed in the accident, Rs one lakh for those with grievous injuries and Rs 25,000 for those with simple injuries.
The Minister also did not rule out possibility of sabotage, but said the inquiry will ascertain the real cause of accident, officials said.
Mishra said the railway authorities were making arrangements for the stranded passengers and they would be transported either by buses or special train.
An accident relief train was also reaching the spot, he said. Asked how long will it take to restore the railway line, he said, “It will take 14 to 15 hours.”