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Darjeeling train mishap: Nine dead, 41 injured

Updated on: 18 June,2024 07:50 AM IST  |  New Jalpaiguri/Kolkata
Agencies |

Goods train rams into stationary Kanchanjunga Express; rescue ops underway

Darjeeling train mishap: Nine dead, 41 injured


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Darjeeling train mishap: Nine dead, 41 injured

At least nine people were killed and 41 injured after a goods train rammed into the stationary Sealdah-bound Kanchanjunga Express in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district on Monday, a senior railway official said.

Among the deceased were the pilot of the goods train and the guard of the passenger train, he added. Senior West Bengal Police officials, however, put the casualty count at 15.

Narendra ModiNarendra Modi

The injured passengers were admitted to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital for treatment. The collision occurred near Rangapani station, 30 km from New Jalpaiguri station, causing four rear compartments of Kanchanjunga Express to derail due to the impact by the goods train’s locomotive at 8.55 am, the official said.

Soon after the accident, Railway Board chairperson Jaya Varma Sinha said the collision took place because the goods train disregarded the signal. The Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) has started a probe into the cause of the accident.

PM Narendra Modi expressed condolences, calling the incident in West Bengal tragic and stating his prayers for the swift recovery of the injured. In a post on X, Modi said the “railway accident in West Bengal is saddening. Condolences to those who lost their loved ones”. 

Rs 10L
Ex-gratia announced for the dead 

People gather near the site of a collision. Pics/PTIPeople gather near the site of a collision. Pics/PTI

Kavach not in place on mishap route

Railways’ ‘Kavach’ or anti-train collision system was not in place along Guwahati-Delhi route, a top official said. Chairperson of the Railway Board Jaya Varma Sinha said that Kavach, an automatic anti-collision train protection system, is being planned for the route. “It is not there right now,” she said.

Pointing towards a possible human error on part of loco pilot of the goods train, Sinha said the collision may have happened because the goods train disregarded the signal and hit the Kanchanjungha Express.

‘Utter mismanagement’: Kharge, Rahul 

Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi slammed the Modi government for “utter mismanagement” of the Railway Ministry as they condoled the loss of lives in the  accident. “Extremely distressed by the Kanchanjunga Express train collision accident, where many people have lost their lives and several have been injured,” Kharge said. “The scenes of the accident are painful. Our heart goes out to the families of the victims. We wish a speedy recovery to the injured,” he demanded.

Signal defective since 5.50 am: Source

“Train No 13174 departed Rangapani station at 8.27 am and stopped between Ranipatra railway station and Chattar Hat due to automatic signalling failure from 5.50 am,” the source said. Another official said, when signalling system fails, station master issues a written authority called TA 912, which authorises the pilot to cross all red signals in the section because of defect. “station master had issued TA 912 to Train No 1374,” the source said.

Railway minister announces ex-gratia

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Monday announced an ex-gratia of R10 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed in the train accident in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district. The minister, who has left for West Bengal to take stock of relief operations after the accident, also announced a sum of R2.5 lakh for those grievously injured and Rs 50,000 for those with minor injuries. “The accident will be thoroughly investigated by the Commissioner of Railway Safety,” Vaishnaw told reporters at the site.

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