38 dead as train rams into bus in Uttar Pradesh

July 7th, 2011 - 7:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Lucknow, July 7 (IANS) At least 38 people were killed and 31 injured when an express train collided with a bus at an unmanned level crossing in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanshiram Nagar district early Thursday, officials said.

The accident took place around 2 a.m. in Thanagaon, about 300 km from here, when Chhapra-Mathura Express rammed into the bus carrying members of a wedding party on their way back home to Etah, Government Railway Police inspector Dalveer Singh told IANS.

Kanshiram Nagar District Magistrate Selva Kumari J. said: “The toll is now 38, around 31 people are being treated in hospitals and community health centres.”

“of the 31 survivors, three are critical and have been taken to Agra for specialized treatment at the medical college there,” she said.

Some railway officials from Bareilly division blamed the bus driver for the accident.

According to survivors undergoing treatment at the Etah district hospital, there was a heated argument between the bridegroom’s family and the driver, following which the driver sulked and refused to drive the vehicle.

The bus conductor then offered to drive.

Minutes later, the vehicle was hit by the train, barely 250 metres away from the venue of the marriage.

The bride and bridegroom were travelling in a Bolero jeep that had gone ahead of the bus.

The driver, who had perched himself on the roof of the bus, and the cleaner, who was behind the wheels, also died in the accident.

There were around 80 people in the bus at the time of the accident.

According to Etah-based journalist Abhilanshu, the bus was dragged for some distance before the train came to a halt.

“Some of the bodies in the mortuary were with chopped arms or legs and with multiple injuries on their faces. Even their own kin were finding it difficult to confirm their identities,” he said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal to proceed to the accident site and asked “the commissioner of railway safety to hold an enquiry”.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) announced ex-gratia relief of Rs.2 lakh each for the next of kin of the deceased and Rs.50,000 each for seriously injured and Rs.10,000 each for simple injuries.

The state government has announced compensation of Rs.1 lakh to the family of those killed and Rs.50,000 to those grievously injured. Those with minor injuries would be given Rs.25,000, officials said.

The rail tracks that were affected following the accident have been repaired. “The route has now been cleared. We have been told that the engine of the train hit the rear portion of the bus,” said an official.

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