Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Manoj Sinha, Hindustan Times, Ramgarh |  Dec 08, 2015 

The SUV was crossing the railroad track in Jharkhand when it was hit by the passenger train late Monday night, said SN Pradhan, a top police officer. (Photo courtesy: ANI)

Fourteen people were killed on Monday night when a Bolero at an unmanned railway crossing near Lapanga was rammed by a speeding train about 50 kms from the Jharkhand capital of Ranchi. Ramgarh police superintendent M.Tamilwanan confirmed the deaths.

The 13025 Howrah-Bhopal express had left Barkakana station around 9.30 pm and was speeding up at the unmanned level crossing when a Bolero attempted to cross over. The train rammed into the car killing all 14 passengers on the spot, which included seven children, four women and three men.

By the time the train driver applied the break, the Bolero had been dragged for about a kilometer.

The deceased were families of two siblings from Ramgarh’s district’s Kori village who were returning from the Chinnamastika temple at Rajrappa after the tonsure ceremony of a baby.

Officials who rushed to the spot within the hour, immediately sent the victims to the Ramgarh Sadar hospital.

Chief minister Raghubar Das, who expressed his shock and condolences, sought a detailed report from the Ramgarh administrative authorities. He also announced Rs 1 lakh as compensation for the surviving family members of each of the deceased.

Ramgargh district collector A. Dodde said he would write to the railways to shut the unmanned crossing while announcing that each of the family would be given Rs 20,000 as aid to perform the last rites.

Some of the people gathered at the accident spot allegedly began demanding compensations for the victims. However, Barkakana station master MK Vidyarthi declined there were provisions for compensation for those hit on unmanned crossings.

The accident disrupted movement of trains on Barkakana section of the Dhanbad division of the east central railway for nearly two hours. Senior railway and government officers reached the accident site on Tuesday to take stock of the situation.

Unmanned railway crossings -- 11,563 in total in India -- account for 59% of deaths on railway tracks. Jharkhand has 323 of these crossings. The railways initiated measures to do away with such level crossings, but 36% of them remain unmanned.

The accident took place on a day that also saw two trains collided in Haryana’s Palwal district. Nearly 100 people were injured while two were reported dead in the accident that occurred due to foggy conditions on Tuesday morning.

Railway accidents in Jharkhand in 2014

(Source: National Crime Records Bureau 2014)

Number of accidents

Cases: 355

Injured: Nil

Died: 355

Railway Crossing Accidents

Cases: 54

Injured: Nil

Died: 54

Unmanned Railway Crossings in Jharkhand

Ranchi division: 142

Dhanbad division: 33

Chakradhapur division: 148

(With inputs from Sanjoy Dey in Ranchi)

There are nearly 15,000 unmanned crossings on Indian railways and hundreds of people are killed at the crossings every year.


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