38 killed, 31 injured as train rams into bus

KANPUR, july 7 (agencies): At least 38 people were killed and 31 injured when a train collided with a bus at an unmanned railway crossing in Kanshiramnagar during the wee hours of Thursday. According to reports, the incident took place in Addupura village under Patiyali police station limits at around 1.55 am when the 15108 Chhapra-Mathura Express train hit a bus carrying members of a marriage party at an unmanned railway crossing in the district.
“Nearly 33 were declared dead on the spot and five among the injured died at the hospital during the treatment. The rest 31 have been admitted to district hospital and Primary and Community Health Centres of Etah and other private hospitals. As per the eyewitnesses, the accident took place at around 1.55 am,” District Magistrate, Kanshiramnagar, Selva Kumari J told TOI. She further informed that Minister of state for railways K H Muniyappa and railway board chairman Vinay Mittal had also reached the mishap site to take stock of the situation. Rescue operations are underway and senior police officials of railways and district administration have rushed to the spot to take note of the situation.
According to sources, the train was running at 115 km speed and there were around 69 passengers in the bus no: DL-1P-5245 when the accident occurred. Superintendent of Police, Ratan Kumar Srivastava said, “The people from the groom side after having dinner were on their way back to village Gadhiya of Etah district from the house of one Banke Lal Yadav, a resident of Addupura, whose daughter Sudha got married to one Pradeep of Gadhiya village in Etah district on Wednesday. The bus had barely covered 50 kms of distance and reached an unmanned crossing no: 209 C in Addupura village of Patiyali police station limits, when all of a sudden it had developed some kind of technical snag. In the meantime, 15108 Chhapra-Mathura Express train arrived there and hit the stationary bus. The bus was overloaded and as per the survivors, many among the passengers were also travelling on the roof-top of the bus.”
A senior Railway official, however, said the inquiry has been initiated by the ministry of railways and it will be carried out by the Commissioner of Rail Safety. He said the inquiry will go into the minute details of the train-bus mishap. The rail traffic on the route was affected for hours after the accident. District Magistrate, Kanshiramnagar, Selva Kumari J further informed that state government has announced ex-gratia relief of Rs 1 lakh for the kin of each person killed, Rs 50,000 each for seriously injured and Rs 25,000 each for those with minor injuries. Whereas, PM Manmohan Singh announced ex-gratia relief of Rs 2 lakh for the dead person, Rs 50,000 each for critically injured and Rs 10,000 for those with minor injuries.
 
Ill-fated UP bus was being driven by the cleaner
 
Kanpur, July 7 (Agencies): The bus that was smashed to bits after it was hit by a train at an unmanned railway crossing in a village in Uttar Pradesh was being driven by the cleaner, not the driver, at the time of the mishap. The accident at Kanshi Ram Nagar district in the wee hours of Thursday killed 38 passengers. The bus was carrying members of a marriage party, who were on the way back to their village after the wedding.
According to some survivors undergoing treatment at the Etah district hospital, a heated argument has erupted between the bridegroom’s family and the driver. When the driver refused to drive the vehicle, the cleaner promptly stepped in and offered to drive. Minutes later, the vehicle was hit by the speeding Chappra-Mathura Express at an unmanned railway crossing at Adhupura, barely 250 metres away from the venue of the marriage. The baraat was on its way back to the bridegroom’s home in another village in Etah. The bride and bridegroom were travelling in a jeep. Most of the bridegroom’s family members and other relatives were traveling in the bus.
“We can’t say whether other members of his immediate family are alive. Our priority is to ensure treatment to the injured and to expedite the post-mortem and other related formalities for the dead,” District Magistrate Selva Kumari said. Talking about the altercation between the driver of the bus and the bridegroom’s family, she said, “Yes, I am told that for some reason the driver refused to drive and the cleaner took to the wheels; but I have yet to get a confirmation on that”. “As the bus went crashing under the wheels of the train, it was dragged for some distance before the train could come to a halt,” said Abhilanshu, a scribe based in Etah.
He added, “The scene of the mishap spoke volumes of the misery and agony that the passengers must have gone through. Some of the dead bodies were lying in the mortuary with mangled bodies and multiple injuries. Even their own family members were finding it difficult to confirm their identities.” With several thousand railway crossings remaining unmanned across the country, such accidents are often reported.
 
Railways yet to eliminate 14,853 unmanned crossings

New Delhi, July 7 (PTI): Despite frequent accidents at unmanned railway crossings like the one in Kanshiram Nagar in Uttar Pradesh which left at least 38 people dead in the wee hours on Thursday, Railways are yet to eliminate about 14,000 such crossings across the country. Currently, there are total of 32,694 level crossings across the country out of which 14,853 are unmanned.
Railways’ drive to sensitise road users about the safety rules to be followed at unmanned level crossings has not given the required results as accidents are taking place frequently at these crossings claiming hundreds of lives every year. While 229 people were killed at unmanned level crossings in 2010-11, 95 people have lost lives in 2011-12. However a senior Railway Ministry official with the safety drive claimed that though frequent rail accidents at unmanned level crossing is a cause of concern for the Railways, the accident rate has come down from 340 in 2002 to 229 in 2010.
According to the data prepared by the safety department of railways, 48 train accidents had taken place at unmanned level crossings in 2010 while there were 13 accidents so far between April to July in the current year. Busy level crossings are being replaced by road over bridges (ROB), road under bridges (RUB) and limited height sub ways (LHS) gradually, the official said. Around 641 ROB/RUB/LHS were constructed under various schemes in the year 2010-11.