Monday, May 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

12 killed in UP rail accident
Sabotage not ruled out

— R
euters photo

Lucknow, May 12
At least 12 persons were killed and over 49 injured when Patna-bound Shramjeevi Express derailed near Jaunpur in UP early today and sabotage is not ruled out. Railway Board Chairman I.I.M. S. Rana said there were several indicators which firmly pointed to sabotage.

Twelve coaches and the engine of Shramjeevi Express, which started from New Delhi yesterday, went off the tracks between Kheta Sarai and Mehrawa stations near Jaunpur on the Lucknow-Varanasi section of the Northern Railway at 4 a.m., railway sources said here.

MapSix of the dead, four men and two women, have been identified so far. They are Mrityunjai Srivastav of Varanasi, Ms Roshan of Patna, Sri Ram of Buxur (Bihar), Aarti and Raghuveer (both from Nalanda) and Udham Singh of Madhubani (Bihar), the sources said.

At least 100 passengers were injured in the derailment and admitted to different hospitals in Jaunpur and Kheta Sarai, they said, adding condition of four of them was critical.

The accident took place when most of the passengers were in sleep and the train was passing over a small bridge on a narrow dry canal, the sources said. Stranded passengers have been sent to Patna by two special trains, they said.

Railway Minister Nitish Kumar, accompanied by Chairman of Railway Board and other senior officials visited the accident site.

Mr Kumar told reporters in Patna that several fish plates were removed from the tracks. He, however, hastened to add some defect in rail tracks or a weak bridge could also have caused the derailment. The death toll could rise further, authorities in Jaunpur said.

While 11 coaches of the train managed to cross the bridge 13 other coaches jumped off the tracks and rolled over suffering considerable damage, the report said.

A team of doctors from Varanasi, Azamgarh, Jaunpur and other neighbouring districts attended to the injured. Nitish Kumar said a statutory inquiry into the derailment had been ordered.

Northern Railway spokesman Devender P Sandhu said in New Delhi that “all circumstances at the site of the derailment indicate the possibility of sabotage.”

“Fish plates have been found lying in such a condition near the track which does not indicate that it was an accident,” he said, adding “preliminary probe by senior railway officials has found no problem with the track or the locomotive.

“All parameters of the track were measured and it was found that there was no problem with it,” Mr Sandhu added.

The Railway Minister has announced that next of kin of each of those killed would be immediately paid Rs 1 lakh as ex-gratia while the Railway Claims Tribunal would pay another three lakh as compensation after verification.

Each of the seriously injured would get an ex-gratia of Rs 25,000 while those with minor injuries would get Rs 5000, he said.

Meanwhile four express trains have been diverted and three passenger trains terminated to clear rail traffic due to the derailment of the Shramjeevi Express, a report from Delhi said. PTI


Villagers saved us: survivor
Our Correspondent

Lucknow, May 12
Rajesh Kumar, one of the survivors, travelling in the ill-fated Shramjivi Express, which derailed near Jaunpur on early today told The Tribune from Faizabad on the telephone that there was a big bang and then every thing went dark.

He had boarded the train in Lucknow at 9.45 p.m. “The train was running at a good speed. I was on the upper berth. All of a sudden the train came to a halt and I fell from my berth. Before I could understand, there was chaos and cries for help,” he said.

“The villagers came to our rescue and removed us from the coach which was precariously hanging. The death toll would have been more but to the help by villagers many passengers got medical treatment early,” he said and added: Before the administration could act many of the passengers were shifted to nearby hospitals by the villagers themselves.” Relatives of passengers of the ill-fated train waited to know about the whereabout of their nears and dears. “There is confusion. The railway administration does not know whether any relief train will come to Lucknow or not,” said Anirudh Jha, whose son was travelling in that train.

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