At least 120 people were killed and over 150 injured when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed near Pukhrayan in Kanpur Dehat district in the wee hours on Sunday morning.
The incident took place at around 3 AM near Pukhrayan, about 100 km from Lucknow, when the passengers were fast asleep.
”Over 150 injured people have been rushed to nearby hospitals in the area. All hospitals have been asked to be alert. More than 30 ambulances have been pressed into service,” Inspector General (Kanpur range) Zaki Ahmed told PTI.
Over 250 police officials are involved in carrying out the rescue and relief operations.
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered a probe into the train tragedy.
”All rescue relief work is on to deal with the unfortunate accident. All medical and other help rushed. Inquiry ordered. Situation monitored closely,” Prabhu said in a tweet.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the train tragedy.
“Anguished beyond words on the loss of lives due to the derailing of the Patna-Indore express. My thoughts are with the bereaved families,” he said in a tweet.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has instructed the DGP to personally monitor the relief operations and deploy traffic police along the route of the mishap site to ensure green corridor for ambulances to reach hospitals quickly.
He announced ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for families of those killed in derailment and Rs 50,000
More ambulances/roadways buses have been rushed to the spot for speedy relief operations, Akhilesh said.
DG Health & ADG (Law and Order) have also been rushed to the accident spot to monitor the relief operations.
Railways Ministry spokesperson Anil Saxena said several people have been rushed to nearby hospitals with injuries, and the casualties may go up.
Accident relief train has been rushed to the spot, he said.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today expressed deep sorrow over the derailment.
Describing the train accident as ‘tragic’, Kumar expressed condolence to the bereaved families and prayed to the almighty to give them strength to bear with the loss of lives of their near and dear ones.
The Chief Minister also prayed for speedy recovery of those injured in the train accident, an official statement said.
Four coaches of the train – S1, S2, S3, S4- were badly damaged in the mishap that took place at around 3 AM near Pukhraya. Most of the passengers were jolted out of their sleep to find themselves among mangled remains of the bogies.
“90 bodies have been pulled out so far. There can be more bodies trapped,” Superintendent of Police, Kanpur Dehat Prabhakar Chowdhury told PTI over phone.
Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha along with four senior railway officials have rushed to the accident spot.
MOS Railway Rajen Gohain said a fault in the tracks may have led to the derailment.
“We haven’t seen an incident like this in Indian Railways for a long time because we have taken a lot of safety measures.
“Earlier these kind of accidents used to happen because of the negligence of the driver but despite taking all safety measures this tragic incident took place.This is a cause of concern and we are investigating the reasons behind it.
“There must be a fault in the track as 14 bogeys have derailed and this happened despite regular checking of the tracks,” he said.
Meanwhile, the CPI(M) today berated the Centre over the Indore-Patna Express mishap, saying it was “unfortunate” that the Prime Minister or the Railway Minister, concerned more with “bullet trains”, were “not willing” to take responsibility for the incident.
Accidents are happening with “alarming regularity”, but the Railway Ministry and the government are yet to wake from their “slumber” and address the dire conditions of the railways, it said.
In its statement, the CPI(M) Polit Bureau also expressed grief over the loss of lives and conveyed its condolences to the families of those killed and sympathy with those injured.
“Instead of giving priority to railway safety and upgrading safety equipment, signaling and tracks, the government seems to more concerned with introducing bullets trains.
“It is very unfortunate that neither the Prime Minister, the railway minister nor the cabinet collectively is willing to take responsibility for such a big accident that has led to the loss of so many lives,” it said.
The party also demanded that the inquiry report of the incident be made public and the guilty be punished unlike earlier probes that remained “unpublished”.
(With PTI inputs)