The train tragedy near Kanpur that left more than100 dead could have been caused due to rail fracture, according to sources in the railways. While the exact cause of the Kanpur accident will be ascertained after the inquiry report, prima facie it indicates towards rail fracture, the sources said.
At least 100 people were killed and about 226 injured 76 of them seriously, on Sunday when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna express train derailed near Pukhrayan area in Kanpur’s Dehat district. Railways officials say the number of casualties could rise.
Casualties also increased due to absence of modern Linke Holfmann Bush (LHB) coaches in the train, the sources added.
Had there been stainless steel LHB coaches, then the damage could have been less as these coaches have more in-built safety features which can absorb shock and impact of derailment more effectively and as a result do not topple, they said.
Rescue operations are under way since early morning and the death toll is expected to rise, railways officials said. Though the cause of the derailment is not known as of now, sources said the nature and timing shows that the accident was caused by a rail fracture.
The accident comes at a time when railways are undertaking a massive brainstorming exercise to generate new innovative ideas to improve rail functioning and making the train journey a pleasant experience.
The ministry said that the stranded passengers are being moved from site to the Malasa station, adding that the injured passengers are being taken to the Kanpur Dehat hospital. “All hospitals have been asked to be on alert. More than 30 ambulances have been pressed into service,” IG (Kanpur range) Zaki Ahmed said. Over 250 police officials are carrying out the rescue and relief operations.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have also reached the spot and have swung into action along with the police, pulling out bodies and providing aid to the victims.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the train tragedy. “Anguished beyond words on the loss of lives due to the derailing of the Patna-Indore express. My thoughts are with the bereaved families,” he said in a tweet.
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered a probe into the tragedy and announced Rs 3.5 lakh ex-gratia for the families of those killed and Rs. 50,000 for those grievously injured.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadavhas announced ex-gratia of Rs. 5 lakh each for families of those killed in derailment and Rs. 50,000 for seriously injured.
Akhilesh Yadav has also instructed Arun Kumar Sinha, principal secretary of state’s health ministry to ensure no shortage of medicines and blood for the treatment of patients from the train accident. He has directed the Director General of Police (DGP) to personally monitor the relief operations.
This is the second derailment in two days as the four coaches of the Bhatinda-Jodhpur passenger train derailed on Saturday at about 2 AM leaving a dozen passengers injured in Rajasthan’s Sriganganagar district.
Railways have launched the following helpline numbers –
Indore – 07411072,
Ujjain – 07342560906,
Ratlam – 074121072,
Orai – 051621072,
Jhansi – 05101072,
Pokhraya – 05113270239.
Kanpur Rural DM helpline numbers: 05111-271050;
Magistrate Hospital on Duty: 9454416414.