Mau: Six kindergarten children were killed and nine others injured when a school van was hit by a Varanasi-bound passenger train at an unmanned railway crossing in Mau district.
The accident took place around 8 AM when the van carrying school children was hit by Tamsa passenger on its way to Varanasi from Azamgarh at Mahaso unmanned crossing in Ranipur area.
Superintendent of Police AK Shukla said that five children were killed on the spot and another child later succumbed to injuries in a hospital.
The victims were students of DD Convent School, Hajipur, police said.
Four of those killed have been identified as Shivam (4), Krishna (4), Sunderam (4) and Ayush (4)--all students of lower KG while two others are yet to be identified, City magistrate Sameer Verma said.
There were 15 children in the van at the time of the accident, Verma said.
Terming as "unfortunate" the death of the children in the mishap, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakhs for the next of the kin of the deceased.
"A big accident has happened as a van carrying school kids collided with a train....It is unfortunate that the driver didn't stop to see as is expected of him at an unmanned level crossing and this led to the tragedy," the Minister told reporters outside Parliament before rushing to the accident site.
Railways announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of deceased, Rs 1 lakh for seriously injured and Rs 20,000 for those who sustained simple injuries in accident.
With the accident once again bringing into focus, the problem of unmanned level crossing, the Minister said the government was taking all steps to man them.
At present, there are 11,000 unmanned level crossings across the country, he said.