63 die in Bengal train smash

Sainthia (West Bengal), July 19: An express train rammed into the rear of a stationary train at 90 kmph at Sainthia station in West Bengal early on Monday morning, killing at least 63 people and injuring more than a hundred.

The accident comes soon after the Gyaneswari Express mishap where 148 people lost their lives following sabotage by Maoists.

In Monday’s accident at Sainthia station in Bir-bhum district, the Sealdah-bound Uttar Banga Exp-ress ploughed into the Vananchal Express (Bhagalpur-Ranchi). Two of the three coaches of the Vananchal Express that were hit in the collision were unreserved compartments while the third was the luggage cabin. The impact of the collision sent one compartment of the Vananchal Express flying onto the foot overbridge.

The Union railway minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee, who rushed to the spot, expressed “doubt over the reason behind the accident”. “There are certain points that raise suspicion. But we will discuss that later. If anyone is found guilty, he will be severely punished. We do not have any means to compensate for the lives that are lost. But the railways will give compensation of Rs 5 lakhs to the families of the deceased persons. Seriously injured persons will get Rs 1 lakh while Rs 50,000 will be given for the treatment of the other injured persons on behalf of the railways. We will also give a job to one family member of each deceased
person,” Ms Banerjee announced after reaching the spot.

[The railway board chairman, Mr Vivek Sahai, who visited the accident site, told reporters that it was unusual on the part of the drivers not to have applied the emergency brake nor to have made any attempt to stop the train, PTI reports.

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