SHIVPURI: Twenty three people were killed and 50 injured when a goods train hit the stationary Indore-Gwalior Intercity Express head-on in Madhya Pradesh after it overshot the signal amid heavy rains and poor visibility in the early hours on Monday.
The accident took place at around 4.45 a.m. when the freight train of North-Central Railways was on the wrong track and hit the stationary passenger train on the front at Badarwas station, Shivpuri Collector Mr Rajkumar Pathak said. The station in Shivpuri district is about 50 km from the nearest town of Guna.
Railway Board officials said 11 of the 23 victims have been identified and efforts were on to identify the remaining. The officials said a preliminary inquiry showed that the goods train’s driver had overshot the red signal. Just before the mishap, the goods train driver jumped off from the locomotive and fled, Mr Pathak said. Both the drivers of the Intercity train are said to be safe.
Around 50 persons were injured and of these 29 were admitted to hospitals in Guna and Shivpuri while remaining were discharged after first-aid, officials said.
Two front bogies of the Express train have been badly damaged in the accident, Mr Pathak said. The station master of Badarwas, who had apparently fled the scene after the accident, has now been traced and his blood sample has been taken to ascertain reports that liquor bottles were found in his chamber, sources said.
Bhopal Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Mr Ghanshyam Singh said that an inquiry had been ordered into the accident, adding action would be taken against those found guilty after the receipt of the inquiry report.
The Railway Minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the next kin of the dead, Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000 for those with serious and minor injuries, respectively. Besides announcing monetary compensation, the government has also promised jobs to the next of the kin of those killed in the mishap. The Minister of State for Railways, Mr K H Muniyappa has already left for the accident site along with senior railway officials. Relief trains from neighbouring Bhopal, Guna and Bina have reached the spot, he said, adding relief and rescue operations were being carried out on a war footing.
Madhya Pradesh Governor, Mr Rameshwar Thakur and the Chief Minister, Mr Shivraj Singh Chouhan have expressed grief over the accident and conveyed their condolences to the families. Meanwhile, the BJP has cancelled the ‘Balram Samman Samaroh’ scheduled for Tuesday in view of the accident. Congress leaders, Mr Digvijay Singh and Mr Ajay Singh have also expressed grief over the accident in separate statements.