As many as five people died and more than 50 were injured when a train derailed in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district on Thursday. Twelve coaches of the Bikaner-Guwahati Express train went off the rails and three capsized.
The accident occurred at around 5 pm near Domohani, which is under the Alipurduar division of Northeast Frontier Railway, an NFR spokesperson said in Guwahati.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw to take stock of the situation following the train accident in Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district.
“Spoke to Railways Minister Shri @AshwiniVaishnaw and took stock of the situation in the wake of the train accident in West Bengal. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly,” tweeted PM Modi.
Vaishnaw said, “Ex-gratia has been announced and we will fulfil all of our duties.”
Enhanced amount of ex-gratia compensation to the victims of this unfortunate accident of Jalpaiguri district:
Rs. 5 Lakh in case of death,
Rs. 1 Lakh towards grievous and
Rs. 25,000 for minor injuries.
A High-level Commissioner Railway Safety enquiry has been ordered in the accident. Senior railway official Guneet Kaur said the cause of the accident was being investigated. She said the Centre would provide financial compensation to families of the deceased and all of the injured in the Jalpaiguri district accident.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has expressed “deep concern” over the tragic accident involving the Bikaner-Guwahati Express train in the state.
Taking to Twitter, the West Bengal CM said, “Deeply concerned to hear about the tragic accident of the Bikaner-Guwahati Express in Maynaguri. Senior Officers of the State Government, DM/SP/IG North Bengal are supervising rescue and relief operations.”
“Those injured will receive medical attention, as early as possible. The situation is being closely monitored from the State HQs,” Banerjee further tweeted.
Meanwhile, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said that all agencies were rendering full assistance and rescue operations were being carried out in full swing.
“Sad to hear Bikaner Guwahati express derailed near Jalpaiguri with reports of deaths and casualties. Gathered that all agencies @RailMinIndia @RailNf @MamataOfficial are rendering full assistance and rescue operations are on and injured are being well attended,” the Governor said in a tweet.
President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu expressed grief over the derailment of an express train in West Bengal and wished speedy recovery to those injured.
The express train was on its way to Gauhati in Assam state from Bikaner, a city in Rajasthan state when the accident occurred in Jalpaiguri district. Images and videos from the scene showed passengers stuck in twisted metal and debris as rescuers rushed to pull them out.
Five passengers have died so far and more than 45 passengers were injured in the accident. “We recovered three bodies from the accident site while two people died in hospital,” Jalpaiguri District Magistrate Moumita Godara Basu said.
“Since some of them are in a critical condition, the death toll may go up,” she said, adding rescuers were thoroughly searching each coach for survivors and bodies through darkness and thick fog.
It is estimated that more than 1,000 passengers were on board when the train was in the Jalpaiguri district. This includes 308 who boarded the train from Bikaner. “Following a sudden jerk, several bogies overturned,” a passenger told news agency ANI. All of the injured were being treated in a hospital, senior police officer Debarshi Dutta said.