Two speeding passenger trains collided near here late Tuesday night, killing 14 people and injuring 45 others.
The Maduadeeh-Lucknow Krishak Express hit Barauni-bound express train from Lucknow from the side while it was on the loop line at Nandanagar railway crossing, about seven kilometers from Gorakhpur, at around 11 pm, Chief Public Relation Officer of North-Eastern Railway Alok Kumar Singh told a news agency today.
As a result of the collision, five unreserved general class coaches of the Barauni Express derailed. The Krishak Express tore through the fifth coach and badly damaged the sixth, seventh and the eight coach of the Barauni Express.
Expressing grief at the loss of lives in the train collision in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ex gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed in the accident and Rs 50,000 each to the seriously injured from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has also announced financial assistance for those killed and injured.
Union Railway Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, meanwhile, expressed profound grief over the loss of innocent lives in the accident.
The Railway Minister further announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of those who died in the tragedy, Rs. 1 lakh each to those grievously injured and Rs 20,000 each to those who sustained less serious injuries.
Gowda has also directed to provide best treatment to people injured in the accident on LJN Divison of North East Railway.
Alok Kumar Singh, the PRO of the North-Eastern Railways, admitted that the drivers of the Krishak Express overshot the red signal. A probe has been ordered by the Railway Board, he said.
Loco pilot of Krishak Express Ram Bahadur and assistant Loco pilot Satyajeet have been suspended for allegedly overshooting the signal. The train was going towards Lucknow while Barauni express was coming from the state capital.
“An inquiry has been ordered by the railway under Commissioner Rail Safety PK Bajpai to ascertain the cause of the incident,” another spokesman Anil Saxena said.
Eyewitnesses said that several people were trapped in the mangled coaches after the collision.
“There was a big jolt. Then we saw a coach of the train upside down. My uncle came under the train. Many lost their limbs in front of my eyes,” said one of them.
Talking to a news agency, Railway Board chairman Arunendra Kumar said the train track has been cleared and operations are to begin soon.
Officials said Gowda was heading to the accident site along with the Railway Board chairman.
Rapid Action Force, Gorkha Regiment and railway police have reached the spot and started the rescue work.
Rescue work was in full swing and the injured have been admitted to different hospitals in Gorakhpur.