M A I N   N E W S

Two siblings die as van, train collide
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Noormahal (Jalandhar), November 5
A pall of gloom descended on Uppal Khalsa village near here as two school-going kids of a glass merchant were crushed to death when the school van carrying them got stuck on the rail tracks at an unmanned railway crossing on the city outskirts and was subsequently hit by the Ludhiana-Lohian DMU train today.

Three other students, travelling in the van belonging to the local SD Model School, which was allegedly abandoned by its driver Harvinder Kumar (25) immediately after “the vehicle developed some snag” while it was passing through the crossing, were also injured seriously. They have been admitted to the DMC in Ludhiana.

The incident took place when the school van (PB-08-AD-3959) was passing through an unmanned railway crossing (known as 23 number phatak) at around 11.55 am and got stuck on the rail tracks as it reportedly developed some snag. Though, driver Harvinder Kumar, who was said to have sensed the danger as he had seen an approaching train and jumped out of the vehicle, made efforts to draw the attention of the train driver, he fled the scene when he realised that his efforts were seemingly going futile, leaving five hapless kids in the vehicle.

The speeding train (DMU-33) hit the vehicle. The impact was so powerful that the van got hurled into the air and landed at a distance of about 15 to 20 ft from the crossing. Amrit Pal Singh, a student of KG, died on the spot, while his sister Simaranjit Kaur, a student of Class III, Ramandeep Kaur, her brother Hardeep Singh, both residents of Natt village, and Ramandip, a resident of Uppal Jagir village, were injured seriously.

Simaranjit Kaur, who was shifted to the DMC, Ludhiana, along with three other students in a precarious condition, was declared brought dead at the DMC. The condition of the other three students was said to be critical.

According to Mr Tirath Ram Sandhu, a former president of the Noormahal civic body, the total number of students travelling in the van was seven, but, two students escaped unhurt by jumping out of the vehicle.

As the news of the accident spread, senior police and administration officials, including the SSP, Mr Ishwar Singh, rushed to the spot. The SSP instructed officials to arrest van driver Harvinder Kumar, a resident of Falahi Mohalla in this township.

Meanwhile, the Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Gupta, has announced a grant of Rs 50,000 for the next of kin of the deceased and a compensation of Rs 10,000 for treatment of each of the injured students.

Meanwhile, heart-rending scenes were witnessed at the house of the deceased brother-sister duo. Hundreds of people, including residents of the village, descended on the place to console the bereaved family.

Harnek Singh, father of the deceased, fell unconscious as soon as he received the news about the death of his two kids. 


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