West Bengal: Railways denies stone pelting on Vande Bharat Express
The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) division of the Indian Railways on Monday denied allegations of stone pelting at the Vande Bharat Express in West Bengal a day before, India Today reported. On Sunday, the Vande Bharat Express was reportedly halted for 10 minutes instead of two minutes at the Bolpur Railway Station in West Bengal's Birbhum district following reports of alleged stone pelting.
Why does this story matter?
- In 2019, the Indian Railways launched the Vande Bharat Express, the first indigenously-built engine-less train, as part of the Make in India initiative.
- The first such train operated between Varanasi and New Delhi, after which six on other routes were inaugurated.
- However, there have been reports of stone pelting at the Vande Bharat Express in West Bengal, putting the authorities in a tight spot.
Stone pelting was just a rumor: NFR
Rejecting the reports of stone pelting at the Vande Bharat Express in WB on Sunday, the NFR stated, "It was a rumor as some passengers claimed that they heard a sound. The sound was not due to stone pelting." "In fact, the scratch on the window was not due to stone pelting," it said, adding that a preliminary inquiry into the matter was conducted.
Alleged stone pelting on Sunday second such incident within week
On Sunday, railway authorities reportedly received information that stones were allegedly hurled at the Howrah-New Jalpaiguri Vande Bharat Express's C14 compartment near the Bolpur Railway Station. However, there were no reports of any casualties. Authorities initiated a probe and started questioning people and officials. Earlier, the train was pelted with stones by unidentified miscreants near Malda Railway Station a week ago as well.
What do we know about previous incident?
The Howrah-New Jalpaiguri Vande Bharat Express was previously attacked with stones near Malda on January 2. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had demanded a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe into the incident. India Today reported the train was allegedly pelted with stones on January 3, too, as it was passing through Bihar. Notably, PM Narendra Modi flagged off the train virtually on December 30.
A little more about Bengal's Vande Bharat Express
West Bengal got its first and the nation's seventh Vande Bharat Express on December 30 According to officials, this blue-and-white train covers a distance of 564km in just 7:45 hours. It has three stoppages at Bolpur, Barsoi, and Malda. The country's sixth Vande Bharat Express was inaugurated on the Nagpur (Maharashtra)-Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh) route on December 11.
Past accidents involving Vande Bharat Express
Notably, Vande Bharat Express trains have been involved in numerous accidents over the past months. In November, the train operating on the Mumbai-Gandhinagar route ran over a 54-year-old woman near Gujarat's Anand Railway Station when she was crossing the tracks. The same train has reportedly been involved in at least three accidents involving cattle in Gujarat since it was launched in October 2022.