5 dead, 20 injured as Bikaner-Guwahati Express derails in Bengal
At least five people have reportedly been killed as the Bikaner-Guwahati Express got derailed in Moynaguri, West Bengal on Thursday evening. Around 20 others are said to have sustained injuries in the tragic train accident. According to railway officials, a dozen coaches were affected and the number of casualties may rise. Rescue and relief operations are currently underway.
Train was supposed to reach Guwahati today
The Bikaner-Guwahati Express had departed from Bikaner junction in Rajasthan on Wednesday and was scheduled to reach Guwahati in Assam on Thursday evening. The train derailed between the New Domohani and New Maynaguri railway stations at around 5 pm on Thursday. Visuals from the scene showed several train coaches lying sideways off the track with passengers being rescued.
Passengers feared trapped; rescue ops underway
Many passengers are feared to be trapped inside. Those injured were taken to the Jalpaiguri district hospital. Gas cutters were being used to cut through the crumpled coaches to rescue passengers, sources informed NDTV. The central government is focused on rescue and relief operations, Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said. Rescue trains from New Jalpaiguri and New Alipurduar were also called for aid.
Coaches weren't full due to COVID-19 curbs: Official
North East Frontier Railway (Alipuarduar) Divisional Railway Manager reportedly said that none of the coaches were filled to capacity due to COVID-19 curbs. The Alipuarduar junction has announced the following hotline numbers for inquiry: 050 34666, 03564 255190, 0361-2731621,2731622,2731623.
Probe ordered to investigate accident
A high-level probe has been ordered into the incident. A passenger told ANI that they felt a massive jolt and the coaches derailed. Reportedly, the train was moving at 40 kmph and was not speeding. Railway Board Chairperson and Director General (Safety) are expected to leave from Delhi to reach the site of the incident.
Ministers express concern; supervise aid
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted saying she was "deeply concerned" over the incident. "Senior Officers of the State Government, DM/SP/IG North Bengal are supervising rescue and relief operations," the tweet said. Vaishnaw described the incident as "unfortunate" and said he will reach the site on Friday. Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot also extended his "heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes cognizance
Spoke to Railways Minister Shri @AshwiniVaishnaw and took stock of the situation in the wake of the train accident in West Bengal. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 13, 2022
Rs. 5L compensation for those deceased
Shortly after the tragedy, the Indian Railways announced financial compensation of Rs. 5 lakh for the kin of those deceased, Rs. 1 lakh for grievous injury, and Rs. 25,000 for "simple injuries."