Hyderabad: The death toll in the last week`s school bus-train collision at an unmanned railway crossing in Telangana`s Medak district rose to 17 with a seven-year-old boy succumbing to his injuries at a private hospital here today, even as the condition of five other students remained critical.
Tarun, who was in "very very critical condition" after sustaining severe head injuries in the mishap, died this evening, said a senior official with Yashoda Hospitals.
"Out of the 20 students admitted to the hospital at Secunderabad here, the condition of five students continues to remain critical while seven other students (including three girls) are in stable condition. Seven patients in the age group of three to nine (two girls and five boys) were discharged today," said Yashoda Hospitals Director (Medical Services) Dr A Lingaiah.
Sixteen persons, including 14 schoolchildren and the driver and the cleaner of the private school bus, were killed and 20 students were injured when a passenger train rammed into their bus at an unmanned railway crossing in Masaipet village on July 24.
In a separate incident, a driver of a private school bus was roughed up some locals who accused him of driving under the influence of alcohol after the bus hit two vehicles in Keesara area.
"The driver was driving the bus in a drunken state posing risk to the lives of schoolchildren," alleged a local. Police are investigating the matter.
Meanwhile, the South Central Railway (SCR) has initiated a fortnight-long special drive on safety at Unmanned Railway Level Crossings (UMLCs) all over the zone.
SCR General Manager P K Srivastava has issued instructions to undertake this focused campaign aimed at avoiding accidents at unmanned level crossings, SCR said in a release here today.
"During the campaign, SCR officials will focus on thorough inspection of safety measures including the availability of requisite infrastructure at UMLCs, such as road surface, proper approaches, warning boards to road users, stop boards, whistle boards, speed breakers and visibility to the road users," according to the release.
"A close watch will be kept on the loco pilots to monitor
their whistling habits while approaching a level crossing. Besides, joint ambush checks will be conducted involving the RPF, GRP and civil authorities at the Railway Level Crossings, to apprehend errant road users under the Motor Vehicles Act/ the Railways Act," the release said.
Safety seminars are also being organised in all the divisions on SCR to sensitise the railway staff, the road users and the public in general on this subject, it said.
With a view to spread public awareness on safety at level crossings, SCR has taken up a multi-pronged publicity campaign through various media, including newspapers, television, FM radio, CCTVs and public announcement system at railway stations.
In addition, safety messages are being delivered to the public through directed SMS system highlighting the need to be cautious and watchful at the time of crossing UMLCs, according to the release.
Street plays are also being organised at strategic locations to reach out to targeted groups of people in rural areas, duly utilising the services of the local village panchayats.
Posters, banners and leaflets are also being displayed or distributed at public places to strengthen the public awareness on the precautions to be taken at level crossings, the release added.