15 dead, 60 hurt as goods train rams into Kanchanjunga exp in WB

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attributes increasing number of train accidents to mismanagement and neglect of safety provisions in trains during 10 year regime of Narendra Modi as PM

Kanchanjunga express accident

New Jalpaiguri (West Bengal): At least 15 passengers were killed and 60 injured when Sealdah-bound 13154 Kanchanjunga express collided with a goods train near New Jalpaiguri station in West Bengal under the North Frontier Railway (NFR) zone on Monday morning.

The collision occurred near Rangapani station, about seven kilometers from New Jalpaiguri, when a goods train rammed the Kanchanjunga express from behind at around 9am, causing three rear compartments of the express train to derail. Though five coaches of the express train suffered damages, scale of casualty was lower because it had two parcel wagon and an SLR coach were attached in the rear side. Several wagons of the goods train have also derailed.

Also Read: Day after Balasore train accident: 300 die, 900 still under treatment

Two loco pilots and a guard are among the 15 killed in the accident. The accident was so huge that one of the coaches got suspended in the area with another side slanting on the good’s train engine. Two other coaches had jumped off the track, said a senior officer of NFR.

Railways announces ₹10 lakh as ex-gratia

Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ex-gratia payment of ₹2 lakh for the deceased, railway minister Ashiwini Vaishaw said that an ex-gratia of ₹10 lakh will be paid to the next of kin of each deceased in the railway mishap. The grievously injured passengers will receive ₹2.50 lakh, while those with minor injuries will get ₹50,000.

Also Read: Toll in Andhra Pradesh’s train accident rises to 13, many still critical

President, Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee condole deaths

President Droupadi Murmu extended her condolences and prayers to the bereaved families and wished the injured a swift recovery. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a post on “X” said: “The news of the death of many people due to the accident of Kanchenjunga Express in West Bengal is extremely sad. I express my deepest condolences to all the bereaved families and hope for the speedy recovery of the injured,” he said.

Gandhi, however, blamed the Modi-led government for increasing train accidents. “The increase in railway accidents in the last 10 years is a direct result of the mismanagement and neglect of the Modi government, resulting in loss of life and property of passengers every day,” he posted.

Also Read: 3 die, many hurt as North East express derails near Raghunathpur

Meanwhile, West Bengal’s CM Mamata Banerjee expressed her shock over the incident on Monday. In a post on X, she wrote, “I am shocked to learn about a tragic train accident in Phansidewa area of Darjeeling district,” and mentioned that further details are awaited. Emergency response teams, including doctors and disaster units, have been dispatched to the site.

Rains hamper rescue operation

It has been raining heavily since morning in Siliguri, impacting the rescue operation. The train was travelling from Agartala to Sealdah when the accident occurred around 9 am. It is believed that pilots of the goods’ train might have overlooked the signal due to heavy rains and hit the train. As a result, long-distance train services have been temporarily stopped.

Also Read: Signalling failure led to triple train accident at Balasore: Govt

Railway Minister rushes to West Bengal to oversee rescue ops

Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw headed to West Bengal to oversee relief operations after a goods train collided with the Kanchanjunga Express near New Jalpaiguri. Vaishnaw and minister of state for railways Ravneet Singh Bittu confirmed that coordinated rescue efforts by the Railways, NDRF, and SDRF are ongoing, with the injured being transported to hospitals. Senior officials are present at the site to supervise the operations.

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