| Smoke billows from the Rajya Rani Express set on fire by the mob in Khagaria district on Monday. (PTI) |
Dhamara Ghat (Khagaria), Aug. 21: A 20-year-old woman who had gone into labour died as she could not be taken to the nearest hospital in Khagaria because of the stoppage of railway traffic for 16 hours since Monday morning when 28 devotees were crushed by a speeding express train.
The woman, Gita Devi, who was in her eighth month of pregnancy, died around 8am on Tuesday after she and her family members went through a nine-hour ordeal. The foetus was also lost.
“My bahu died because of the train disruption. The railway is our lifeline,” said Jairam Singh, the father-in-law of Gita Devi.
The movement of trains on the Saharsa-Mansi section had stopped soon after the Rajya Rani Express mowed down 28 people who were crossing the tracks at Dhamara Ghat station in Khagaria district on Monday. Train traffic was crippled for at least 16 hours on the section that falls under Samastipur division of East Central Railway.
When Gita was writhing in labour pain around 6pm on Monday, her in-laws in Dhanchhar, around 10km northeast of Dhamara Ghat, decided to take her to the nearest hospital in Khagaria, about 26km southwest of the village. Around 11 that night, Gita’s relatives lifted the cot on which she was lying and covered 15km on foot along the railway tracks and reached Badla Ghat railway station around 6am on Tuesday. The family was then forced to shell out Rs 600 for a vehicle to take them to a hospital in Khagaria, around 15km away.
When they reached the hospital around 8am, she was hardly breathing. She died soon after the initial treatment started. Jain Gupta, the doctor who attended on her, said: “She could have been saved if brought on time.”
Gita’s father-in-law Jairam sounded helpless. “She got married to my son, Ravindra Kumar (23), two years ago and this was her first child. Our best efforts failed to save her, as there is no transport facility from my village to the town, except the train,” he said. “We are victims owing to disruption on the tracks but we cannot claim anything. Nobody will take the responsibility, while we have to endure the trauma.”
Upendra Singh, the village head of Rajbachha panchayat under which Dhanchhar village falls, said: “We faced several losses a day after train movement on the Saharsa-Mansi section was disrupted. People failed to attend office and many shelved their work, including visits to hospitals. Jairam Singh’s loss is immeasurable.”