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Bengal: Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw to visit Kanchenjunga Express train accident site

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Monday left for Darjeeling in West Bengal to visit the site of the accident in which at least five people were killed and over 20 sustained injuries after the Kanchenjunga Express passenger train was hit from behind by a goods train.

Vaishnaw is expected to reach the Bagdogra airport situated 40 kilometres away from the site of the collision this morning which caused two bogies to derail.

The accident took place at Ruidhasa near Rangapani station in the Katihar Railway Division ahead of New Jalpaiguri Junction at around 8:45 am today. The area falls in the Siliguri subdivision of Darjeeling district, Kanchanjungha Express which runs between Silchar in Assam to Sealdah in Kolkata was on its way from Agartala in Tripura to Sealdah when the goods train hit it from behind, according to Sabyasachi De, Chief Public Relations Officer – Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR).

Visuals from the site showed one of the bogies suspended in mid-air.

Meanwhile, Indian Railways officials in Delhi are monitoring the situation at the accident site.

“Five passengers have died and 20-25 injured in the accident. The situation is serious. The incident occurred when a goods train rammed into Kanchenjunga Express,” said Abhishek Roy, Additional Superintendant of Police (SP) Darjeeling Police.

Partha Pratim Roy, Chairman, of North Bengal Rashtriya Paribahan Nigam said 10 buses of North Bengal Rashtriya Paribahan Nigam have left for the accident site to rescue stranded passengers of the Kanchenjunga Express.

“10 buses of North Bengal Rashtriya Paribahan Nigam have left for the accident site to rescue stranded passengers of the Sealdah-bound Kanchenjunga Express. Also, additional bus services from Siliguri-Kolkata from Siliguri Tenzing Norgay bus terminus will be operational from this afternoon,” said Partha Pratim Roy.

Teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Police and Army are present at the accident site.

A passenger of the Kanchenjunga Express train, while speaking to ANI said, ” I was travelling in B1 coach when the train was hit. I have been rescued, I have suffered an injury on my head.”

Vaishnaw had earlier today said that rescue operations are being carried out on a war footing.

“Unfortunate accident in NFR zone. Rescue operations going on at war footing. Railways, NDRF and SDRF are working in close coordination. The injured are being shifted to the hospital. Senior officials have reached the site,” Vaishnaw posted on X.

Sealdah Eastern Railway has set up a control desk at Rangapani station.

Sources in the Railways said that the goods container train overshot the signal and hit the rear parcel coach of the Kanchanjunga Express.

The train has two parcels and one coach for the guard.

Personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Divisional Railway officials have reached the accident site. A total of 15 ambulances and medical equipment have also reached the site of the mishap.
Officials are reviewing the situation, the Railway officials said.

Earlier in the day, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the accident took place in Phansidewa area of Darjeeling district.

“Shocked to learn, just now, about a tragic train accident, in Phansidewa area of Darjeeling district. While details are awaited, Kanchenjunga Express has reportedly been hit by a goods train,” Mamata Banerjee said in a post on X.

“The DM, SP, doctors, ambulances and disaster teams have been rushed to the site for rescue, recovery, medical assistance. Action on war-footing initiated,” the West Bengal chief minister said.


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Last Updated: 21st Jul 2024