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Red sari saves Kamrup, railway differs

Behrampore, July 27: What railway couldn’t, a housewife could — detect loose fish plates and save the Guwahati-bound Kamrup Express from a disaster.

Krishna Pal was walking along the tracks early this morning when she chanced upon the fish plates. They looked different. A zoom and she realised some of them were loose, some had come off.

Living close to the railway tracks, she knew it meant trouble for the train that passed through the stretch between Jangipur and Gankar stations that time of the day.

Krishna rushed home, looking for a red sari. She had one. She alerted the cabin man and brought 59 Up Howrah-Guwahati Kamrup Express to a stop with her sari in the Azimganj section of Eastern Railway’s Malda division, said police.

The railway did not agree. It said in Calcutta cabin man .C. Ghosh detected a fracture on the rail when the express was about to pass. “Ghosh, who stays at the adjoining quarters and was off-duty, detected it and raised alarm,” a railway spokesperson said.

There were no doubts over the fact that the express was detained for nearly four hours.

“Around 5 am, Krishna saw the fish plates had broken loose. She ran home and brought the red sari, which she waved,” a police official said. The Guwahati-bound train was approaching at full speed, he added. Krishna realised waving the sari would not be enough to stop the train and so she informed the cabin man of Mirjapur level crossing.

“Krishna Pal raised the alarm by informing the cabin man, who switched on the red light,” said K.C. Das, the stationmaster of Gankar.

Word spread and villagers from faraway places came to have a look at the housewife. “We have never witnessed such excitement. After all, one of our own people stopped a train and saved so many lives,” said a villager.

Divisional railway manager B.R. Mangalik has ordered an inquiry into the incident.

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