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Monday, November 21, 2016

Indore- Patna Express derails ~ more than 100 feared dead

Accidents are sad ! loss of human lives is tragic !  Pukhrayan is a town and a Municipality in Kanpur Dehat district in  Uttar Pradesh, situate south-west of Mati on National Highway 25, Pukhrayan is 4 km from Bhognipur.  We may not be reading about this place nor about the train that runs a distance of 1359 km for 26h 40 m from Indore to Patna – but for the tragic rail accident in the early hours of Sunday.

Newspaper reports state that at  3.03 AM, the driver of the Indore-Patna Express witnessed “the overhead equipment shaking” and “felt a jerk” — both out of the ordinary occurrences — and applied emergency brakes, show official Railways records of the worst train accident in recent years that killed at least 120 people and injured over 180. Fourteen coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed at Pukhrayan in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh early Sunday morning – killing over  115 passengers and injuring more than 200, nearly half of them grievously, in the worst train accident in recent years.  The disaster took place just a little after 0300 hrs when the passengers were jolted out of their sleep as the Patna-bound train jumped the tracks, badly damaging four ordinary sleeper coaches in which hundreds were trapped. Of the four coaches, the S1 and S2 had telescoped into each other and most of the casualties were feared to have been in these two compartments.

S3 and S4 coaches also suffered severe damage while an AC III tier coach was also affected but casualties in it were not heavy. As railway personnel assisted by those of army, NDRF and state police carried out the search and rescue operation, the number of casualties kept on increasing by the hour. By evening, 110 bodies were recovered and taken to Mati mortuary in Kanpur rural. The death toll is over 115, UP DGP Javeed Ahmad said. Among the dead, 43 have been identified, of which 20 are from Uttar Pradesh, 15 from Madhya Pradesh and six from Bihar and one each from Maharashtra and Gujarat. Post mortem of 27 identified bodies has been done and they were being handed over to the families. Ambulance facilities were also being provided to the families of the victims to transport the bodies, officials said.

Officials said that prima facie the cause of the accident could be due to track fracture. Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha told reporters at the spot that it seems the cause of the accident is rail fracture. Member (Engineering) of the Railway Board will find out the cause of the mishap and action will be taken against those responsible, he said. With several passengers feared trapped, rescue personnel employed cold cutters to break open the compartments as gas cutters produced excessive heat and suffocation hampering their efforts.

A number of trapped passengers were rescued. Teams of army doctors, railway officials and personnel of NDRF, state PAC and other policemen were involved in carrying out rescue and relief operation. The Chief Minister 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. More ambulances/roadways buses have been rushed to the spot for speedy relief operations, the CM said. DG Health and ADG (Law and Order) also rushed to the accident spot to monitor the relief operations. Buses were pressed into service to help passengers complete their journey, Kumar said.

Gory details are avoided and intentionally no photos posted here, though there are many in every newspaper website. Sad as we mourn the death of passengers.

Way back in Nov. 1956, a ghastly train accident occurred in Ariyalur near Trichy in Tamilnadu when 100s of passengers were feared dead  -  and immediately after the accident Lal Bahadur Shastri resigned as Railway Minister…….. a resignation may not change the fate of the victims, but sure sign that someone takes responsibility and expresses concern in ensuring that such things do not repeat themselves – and there have been so many accidents thereafter – each time remorse felt immediately and slowly forgotten !!

-         S. Sampathkumar.

-         21st Nov 2016

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