Train-bus collision kills 16 in Telangana, CM announces Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia
Hyderabad: Sixteen persons - 14 school children, the driver and the cleaner - were killed and at least 20 students were injured as a train crashed into the private bus in which they were travelling at an unmanned railway crossing at Masaipet village in Telangana`s Medak district Thursday morning.
The driver`s decision to avoid nearby manned railway gates to take a shorter route, and failure to spot the oncoming Nanded-Secunderabad passenger train while crossing, were blamed for the mishap which took place between Masaipet and Wadiaram stations on Secunderabad-Nizamabad section.
The bus, being driven by another driver as the regular one was on leave, was carrying about 40 students of a private school at Toopran in the district.
The children, aged between 5 to 15, had been picked up from various parts of Yeldurthy mandal and the bus was on its way to the schoool.
"Fourteen students including eight boys and six girls besides the driver and the cleaner were killed in the mishap. At least 20 students were rushed to Yashoda hospital in Hyderabad," Medak District Superintendent of Police Shemushi Bajpai told PTI.
According to the hospital, seven out of the 20 injured students are in a critical condition.
It was a heart-rending scene at the site of the mishap, with books, school-bags and lunch boxes strewn around and inconsolable parents standing near the bodies of children. The bus was a blood-stained mangled heap.
The railway authorities earlier put the death toll at 18, but local police and district administration said it was 16.
Bikshapati Goud, a temporarily hired driver, took a short-cut, instead of passing through either of the two manned level crossings in the radius of 1.5 km of the accident site.
"The driver took (the route passing through) the unmanned gate to cross the railway tracks as the distance through a manned gate is a bit longer. This proved fatal for students," Medak district`s in-charge collector A Sharat told PTI.
The train dragged the bus for 50 metres before coming to halt.
"The regular bus driver used to be alert and would watch both sides of the tracks while crossing the site where the accident happened," Government Railway Police Inspector General Kripanand Tripathi Ujela told PTI.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences and prayed for speedy recovery of the injured students.
Here`s what PMO tweeted:
The PM prays for the speedy recovery of those injured in the accident in Medak District.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) July 24, 2014
The Prime Minister has expressed his deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the accident in Medak district.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) July 24, 2014
Telangana government said it was Railways` responsibility to put a manned gate at the level-crossing, and locals were making this demand for a long time.
Ordering an inquiry, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announced a Rs five lakh ex-gratia each to the families of the deceased and announced that medical expenditure of the treatment of injured students would be borne by the state government.
Rao expressed his shock and anger when he spoke to South Central Railway General Manager P K Srivastava about the mishap, sources said.
With PTI inputs
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