KUSHINAHAR: A school van rammed into a train killing thirteen people and seriously injuring seven others in Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh. The mishap took place on Thursday morning at around 6:45-7 am when Thawe-Kapatanganj passenger train (55075) was passing the railway crossing. There were at least 25 people, mostly children in the van.
As per witnesses, all those killed in the crash are aged under 10. Many of those injured could not even be taken to the hospital and succumbed to their injuries on the spot.
Eyewitnesses are blaming it on the administration as the incident took place on an unmanned railway crossing. The death toll is likely to rise. As per initial reports, the bus belonged to Divine public school in Kushinagar.
Giving details of the incident, police said that the injured have been taken to the hospital. "There were nearly 25 school kids in the van. The children were on their way to their school when the incident took place. The incident took place near a rail crossing. The injured have been taken to the hospital. Many residents of the area had gathered when the incident took place," Additional SP Hari Govind said.
He also added that the railway crossing gates are not closed when the train passes. Some are saying that the railway official who used to give the green signal to the trains did not turn up for work on Thursday. The Railways is, however, maintaining that its employee tried to stop the train but the incident could not be averted. "It was unmanned level crossing gate at Behpurva, with Gate Mitra deployed there. He tried to stop but the unfortunate incident happened at unmanned gate 45 near Dudhi station in Banaras division," spokesperson for Railways Ved Prakash said.
Along with children, the driver has also been killed in the accident. It is being reported that the train usually passes this unmanned crossing at around 6 am but was running late on Thursday morning and crossed at around 6:45 am.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath condoled the death of the children and announced an ex-gratia of Rs two lakh each to the deceased's family. He has also ordered an immediate inquiry into the matter by the Gorakhpur commissioner. He has directed the district administration to provide all possible help and medical aid to the victims. The UP CM is rushing to Kushinagar for on-the-spot assessment of accident site.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled the death of the children. "I am extremely saddened on hearing about the death of school students in a collision between a school van and a train in Uttar Pradesh's Kushinagar. The UP government and the Railway Department will take appropriate action," he said.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the kin of the deceased. "I received the unfortunate news of the death of school children. I have asked senior officials to conduct a probe into the incident. Railways will give a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the kin of the dead over and above the aid announced by the Uttar Pradesh government," he said in a tweet. An accident relief medical train from Gorakhpur has been dispatched to the site.
An accident relief medical train from Gorakhpur has been dispatched to the site.