Kolkata, Jan 13 (IANS) At least four persons died and more than 40 passengers were injured when 12 coaches of the Bikaner-Guwahati Express (15633) derailed in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri district. Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was in a meeting with the chief ministers of the states regarding Covid received information about the accident from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The train that started from Bikaner in Rajasthan was heading to Guwahati in Assam via Patna when the accident took place near Mainaguri in Jalpaiguri around 5.15 p.m. on Thursday. Mainaguri was not one of the train's 34 stoppages and the Bikaner Express was merely passing Jalpaiguri at the time of the incident.
There were a total of 1,200 passengers on board, including 177 who boarded the train from Bikaner and 98 passengers who boarded the train from Patna junction.
"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," Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said. She also apprised Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the accident.
"Spoke to GM @RailNf and gathered that all efforts are afoot to render assistance to injured and passengers in concert with agencies @RailMinIndia @MamataOfficial. Passengers would be taken to Guwahati by another train. Pray speedy recovery to injured," Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said.
"In an unfortunate accident, 12 Coaches of Bikaner-Guwahati Exp. derailed near New Maynaguri (West Bengal) this evening. Personally monitoring the situation for swift rescue operations," Union Minister for Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw who will visit the accident site on Friday tweeted. Vaishnaw also briefed the Prime Minister on the situation.
The railway authorities have announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the families of those killed, Rs 1 lakh for the seriously injured and Rs 25000 for the less seriously injured.
According to the railway authorities the reason for the accident is yet to be determined but there was no problem with the signal and it is suspected that the derailment took place because of some problem on the track.
"The state rescue team along with three teams from NDRF are working on the rescue operations and so far, 40 people have been rescued. The injured people are transferred to Jalpaiguri Super Speciality Hospital and the seriously injured people will be sent to North Bengal Medical College," District Magistrate of Jalpaiguri Moumita Godara Basu said.