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3 girls killed in train-bus collision near Jalandhar
Tribune Reporters

Jalandhar, November 23
Human error and fog led to the death of three students of PTM Arya Girls College, Noormahl, when Dhanbad Express rammed into a bus carrying the students at an unmanned level crossing at Gumtala, near Bilga, this morning. Sixteen persons were injured in the accident.

The news spread fast and a pall of gloom descended on Bilga, from where the three girls hailed.

Ayasha of Pasla village succumbed to her injuries on the way to a hospital, while Daljinder Kaur died after reaching DMC Hospital, Ludhiana. The other deceased has been identified as Kiran, also from Pasla.

The injured have been admitted to the DMCH. Some of them have been admitted to a private hospital at Noormahl and a government hospital at Bilga.

The accident, according to the police, occurred at around 7.45 am when Kuljinder Singh, driver of the bus, tried to cross the level crossing without seeing the approaching train. There were about 30 students in the bus.

Eyewitnesses said the driver might not have been able to see the train due to dense fog. Simranjit Kaur, a student, said the driver had stopped the bus for a while to check if any train was coming but he probably could not the train due to the fog.

"There were two groups. One of the groups was speculating that the train was coming and the other was saying that it was not. In the meanwhile, the driver began to move the vehicle forward, she added.

Senior police officers, including the SSP, reached the spot and ordered a probe into the incident. The bus driver and conductor fled after the accident. A case has been registered against the driver under Section 304-B, IPC.

Divisional Railway Manager V.K. Gupta said a high-level departmental probe had been ordered. He said the railway would bear all the medical expenses of the injured.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh each for the kin of the deceased, Rs 50,000 for the seriously injured and Rs 10,000 for the other injured.

This announcement was made by Punjab Cooperative Minister Amarjit Singh Samra who spoke to the Chief Minister about the accident.

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