M A I N   N E W S

‘Unmanned’ tragedy again, four killed
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Ghanauli (Ropar), February 16
Four members of a family were killed and two seriously injured at an unmanned level crossing at Alipur village, about 10 km from Ropar, today. The mishap took place when the auto-rickshaw in which the victims were travelling was hit by a train coming from Chururu in Himachal Pradesh.

The accident took place at 8.32 a.m.

According to eye-witnesses, the impact of the collision was so powerful that the auto-rickshaw was thrown off the track.

Three persons in the auto-rickshaw, including Baljit Kaur, wife of Krishan Lal, resident of Sabara village in Mohalli district, Karanjit Kaur, wife of Mehar Singh, resident of Morinda, and Ramandeep Kaur (10), granddaughter of Karanjit Kaur, were killed on the spot.

The remaining three injured, including Nirmal Singh, resident of Rattangarh, Mehar Singh, resident of Morinda, and Sukhdeep Singh, who was driving the auto-rickshaw, were rescued by locals and shifted to the Civil Hospital, Ropar, with the help of the police.

Later, Nirmal Singh was shifted to the PGI, Chandigarh, where he died, taking the toll of the dead to four.

All victims of the accident were members of the same family. They had come to Aliwal village for some family function.

Sukhdeep Singh had borrowed the auto-rickshaw this morning to drop the family at Ghanauli bus stand.

Deputy commissioner B. Purusartha and SSP, Ropar, P.K. Sinha reached the spot and supervised the rescue operations.

The rail traffic remained disrupted on the Ropar-Nangal section for about one hour due to the accident.

The district police has booked the driver of the auto-rickshaw Sukhdeep for the accident.

The district administration or the Punjab government, however, has not announced any grant for the kin of the deceased. The officials said the compensation would be given by the Railways authorities.

The accident has once again brought to the fore the problem of unmanned level crossings on the Ropar-Nangal stretch. There are about six such official crossings on the stretch. Besides, many other illegal crossings are being used by villagers.

Residents of the Ghanauli area had been demanding that a person should be posted at the level crossing here to avert accidents. They had represented to the Railways authorities to post a person here. However, no action has been taken.

Interestingly, BJP MP from Hoshiarpur Avinash Rai Khanna had organised a dharna to get a manned level crossing opened on the said track.



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