At least 30 persons were reportedly killed and over 100 injured as several coaches of an express train derailed at a station in Sant Kabir Nagar in eastern Uttar Pradesh on Monday morning after the train rammed into a stationary freight train.
The Gorakhdam Express was travelling from New Delhi to Gorakhpur when it rammed into a stationary train at Chureb railway station, causing the engine and six coaches of the express train to derail.
Scores of passengers were still trapped inside the train even as the Railways dispatched two rescue trains, from Gonda and Gorakhpur, to carry out relief and rescue work, said Alok Kumar Singh, chief spokesperson, North-Eastern Railways.
ADG Railways, Virendra Kumar, confirmed the death of 21 persons, including the driver.
The death toll is likely to rise, said Sant Kabir Nagar District Magistrate Bharat Lal, adding that some coaches would have to be cut open to carry out rescue work. The first coach of the train was completely mangled.
The injured have been sent to Basti and Sant Kabir Nagar for treatment while the critically injured have been sent to Gorakhpur Medical College.
The accident occurred at around 10:35 am, Mr. Singh said. According to Mr. Lal, the incident occurred when the express train came on the same track as the freight train. Initial reports suggested that a signal error might have led to the accident. Out of the six coaches, four were general and two were AC coaches.
The Railways ordered an inquiry into the mishap under Commissioner Railway Safety (Northeast circle) P.K Bajpayee. It also ordered a compensation of Rs. 1 lakh to the family of the killed and Rs. 50,000 for those seriously injured while Rs. 10,000 will be given to those who sustained minor injuries.
UP State Health Minister Ahmad Hassan said teams of doctors were also dispatched from Faizabad, Basti and Gorakhpur to facilitate the rescue work. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav expressed grief at the loss of lives in the accident and ordered officials to accelerate rescue and relief operations while providing for the treatment of the injured.
Narendra Modi also expressed his grief and sent condolences to the families of the victims through Twitter.
NER helpline numbers
Lucknow: 0522-2635639, 0522 2288890
Gorakhpur : 0551 2204893
Gonda: 05262 222330
Delhi: 011- 23341071