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Saturday, December 28, 2013

AC coach of Bengaluru Nanded Express catches fire - 26 feared dead

The Nanda Dynasty originated from the region of Magadha in ancient India during the 4th century BC. At its greatest extent, the Nanda Dynasty extended from Bengal in the east, to Punjab in the west and as far south as the Vindhya Range. The Nanda Empire was later conquered by Chandragupta Maurya, who founded the Maurya Empire.

Nanded  is the second largest city in the Marathwada Division of Maharashtra, India, and the headquarters of Nanded district. Nanded is of great historical significance for Sikhs, and it has many Sufi shrines as well. The city is situated on the bank of the Godavari, and is a regional educational hub.  Nanded was the capital of the district of Telangana under Aurangzeb. In 1708, the year following Aurangzeb's death, Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth spiritual leader of the Sikhs, came to Nanded. He proclaimed himself the last living Guru and established the Guru Granth Sahib as the eternal Guru of Sikhism, elevating the reverence of the text to that of a living leader. Nanded became part of the Hyderabad State in 1725 and continued to be part of the Nizam's dominions until 1948.

Nanded is in news for wrong reasons ~ a rail accident where 26 people are feared dead … fire on board the B1 air-conditioned coach of the Bengaluru-Nanded express early on Saturday morning(28.12.13). The train was travelling from Bangalore to Nanded when it caught fire near the small town of Puttaparthi in the early hours…. Sadly the frequency of train accidents causing loss of lives is on the increase. As the bodies were being transported to Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru, Union Minister of State for Railways Kotla Jayasuryaprakash Reddy visited the accident spot in Kothacheruvu and announced compensation to the victims, serious injuries and minor injuries. He said the Indian Railways would bear the cost of the treatment too. It is reported that sleeping passengers woke to the blaze that was caused by an electrical fault; Train doors had been locked and windows encased in metal bars ; survivors forced to smash toilet windows to escape.

Newspaper reports quoting officials say that many of those trapped suffocated as the result of smoke inhalation after the blaze that took place in the early hours of the morning. The unfortunate met their end in the early hours when they were fast asleep. Firefighters had to force open the  locked doors open to retrieve the charred bodies of those who did not survive ~ survivors were unable to help all other passengers out of the train through the narrow toilet windows which were the only way to escape.

Though numbers vary around 68 persons are believed to have been travelling in the ill-fated air-conditioned carriage at the time of mishap. India's Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh  expressed his 'shock and sadness' at the incident.   The PM has also ordered the railway and state government authorities 'to extend all possible help to the victims in rescue and relief operations'.

The first people to reach the scene were from nearby villages as initial relief efforts were hindered by winter fog, reports indicate.  Railways Minister Kharge said the railway board chairman would lead an inquiry into the cause of the accident and a more complete report would be issued at a later date. The engine driver stopped the train when he spotted flames about an hour away from Nanded, a police officer was quoted on The Hindu newspaper website as saying.

A sad day indeed as the Nation mourns the innocent lives lost in the ghastly accident
With regrets – S. Sampathkumar
28th Dec 2013.

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