Giridih: At least seven people were killed when two coaches of the Howrah-Dehradun express train caught fire early Tuesday in Giridih district of Jharkhand.
A four-year-old girl Arpita and her mother Anumita are among seven victims, who were charred to death and the officials fear that the death toll may go up.
According to reports, the incident took place near the Nimiyaghat railway station. A Railway Ministry spokesperson at New Delhi confirmed the incident saying, “The fire broke out at 2:30 am in B-1 AC coach and then it spread to B-2 AC coach."
Both the coaches have been detached from the train and rescue operations are still on. Railway authorities have confirmed that the blaze has been brought under control.
Although the cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, it is being said that a short-circuit could have started it.
Meanwhile, an inquiry has also been ordered by the Commissioner Railway Safety (CRS), the spokesman said. Dhanbad DRM and a railway medical team have reached the site and catering arrangements have been made for the stranded passengers.
Union Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi regretted the loss of lives in the fire mishap and announced an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh to the next of kin of those killed.
All other passengers in the affected B-1 and B-2 AC coaches will get Rs 25000 as immediate financial assistance for the inconvenience caused due to the fire, he said.
Senior officials of East Central Railway said that the fire was first spotted in the coach between Parasnath and Nimiaghat stations. There were a total of 128 passengers in the two coaches of the Howrah-Dehradun Express when the fire broke out.
Railway has set up a helpline for relatives of the passengers. The helpline numbers are 033-26413660, 033-26402243 and 032-62220518.
With PTI Inputs