Local people block railway tracks and prevent trains from passing

Five persons, including a three-year-old boy, were killed when their car was hit by a train at an unmanned level crossing close to the Aroor railway station, 15 km from Kochi on Sunday afternoon.

The No.12998 Hapa-Tirunelveli superfast express hit the car around 2.45 p.m, a few minutes after leaving the Ernakulam station. The car had apparently attempted to cross the railway track and the driver had not noticed the train.

The occupants of the car, including the owner-driver were killed. While three men died instantaneously, local people and the police rushed the boy and one man to a nearby hospital. But the two were pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

The dead were identified as Kalathil Sumesh (26) of Aroor; Nefin (3), son of Sumesh’s friend Neythupurackal Vincent; Chellappan (65) of Poochakkal; Karthikeyan (70) of Elamkunnapuzha; and, K.A. Narayanan (65) of Perumbalam. The five were enroute to a function.

Soon after the accident, around 500 people gathered at the accident site and demanded that the railways post a guard at the busy bisection. The narrow Village Office Road cut through the railway tracks and because of a curve trains were not visible to those crossing the tracks, they pointed out. They complained that despite several demands in the past, the authorities had not finished the work on the level crossing. The angry mob blocked the railway tracks and prevented a train from passing.

Ministers visit site

The people raised slogans against the apathy of Railways. Union Minister of Sate for Power K.C. Venugopal and Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash, who visited the accident site in about an hour, had to face the wrath of the people. The Ministers assured the people that they would pressure Railways to immediately post guards at the crossing.