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Rajdhani to Dibrugarh derails

- Four passengers killed, five from Assam critically injured, ex gratia announced

June 25: At least five persons from Assam were critically injured as the New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express got derailed at Goldenganj near Chhapra in Bihar around 2 this morning.

A list released by NF Railway names them as Jitendra Nath Verma, 42, from Barpeta, and Vipul Shukla, 51, Sewali Sharma, 60, Achinto Saikia, 41 and Rita Nath, 32, from Guwahati.

Sources said a suitcase fell on Sewali, a resident of Nabagraha in Guwahati, at the train hurtled off the tracks.

The accident left at least four passegers dead and 21 injured.

NF Railway public relations officer Nripen Bhattacharjya said passengers from Assam were being brought to the state by a special train and the injured were being treated in Patna.

“The special train will reach Guwahati at 2am tomorrow. The New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express was to reach Guwahati by 5pm today,” he added.

Three passengers, Raju Jacob, 53, K.J. Singh, 55, and Y. Agarwal, 22, who were supposed to deboard at New Bongaigaon, are safe, according to the New Bongaigaon railway control room.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi requested his Bihar counterpart Jitan Ram Manjhi over phone to provide free medical treatment to the injured passengers and make arrangements to shift those stranded to Guwahati. He directed deputy inspector-general of police (western range) Surendra Kumar to immediately visit the mishap site.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the kin of each deceased. This is in addition to the Rs 2 lakh announced by railway minister Sadananda Gowda. The minister also declared Rs 1 lakh for the grievously injured and Rs 20,000 for those with minor injuries.

Gogoi and Assam governor J.B. Patnaik extended their condolences to the families of the victims and wished speedy recovery to the injured.

Ninety-two passengers from Dibrugarh had boarded the train from New Delhi. No relatives or family members communicated with the railway authorities in Dibrugarh.

“Nowadays, everybody has mobile phone. The passengers might be in contact with their family members directly,” a source said.

However, Ashim Sonowal, whose cousin brother Manoranjan Sonowal was coming by the train, waited for news at Guwahati railway station. “There has been no phone call from him. His mobile has been not reachable,” said Ashim, who hails from Doomdooma in Upper Assam’s Tinsukia district.

The NF Railway has issued several helplines in the state — Dibrugarh (0373-2300131), Tinsukia (0374-2351549, 2342385, 2312131), Mariani (03771-242044), Dimapur (03862-2291732), Lumding (03674-263366), Guwahati (0361-2731621/622), New Bongaigaon (03664-231754), Kokrajhar (03661-271734/735/736).

Several trains were diverted, including the 15610 Lalgarh-New Tinsukia Avadh Assam Express, the 15609 New Tinsukia-Lalgarh Avadh Assam Express and the 15983 Dibrugarh-Amritsar Express.

The derailment has triggered a debate on whether the mishap was the result of Maoist sabotage or neglect of rail safety.

 


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