The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rabri promises power to Rajdhani saviours

Patna, Sept. 16: Come December, and there will be light in the lives of village folk in remote hamlets around Rafiganj, where the Rajdhani Express was derailed last Monday.

In a gesture of thanks to locals who selflessly helped pull out passengers from the mangled train, the Rabri Devi government today decided to take electricity to nine villages near the disaster site.

“I am touched by the large-heartedness of the villagers,” said Bihar energy minister Shakeel Ahmed Khan after a recce of Rafiganj. “I have visited the site and have just returned. I have heard accounts of how people from adjoining villages (chipped in),” he said.

The bridge over the river Dhawa, off which the Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express careened, is in a Naxalite pocket and has no power, phone or hospital facilities. Villages nearest it are miles away. The area was steeped in darkness when the crash occurred, but villagers, armed with lanterns and torches, trudged long distances and showed up within an hour to help out.

Khan has already instructed the Bihar State Electricity Board to supply electricity to nine villages in Aurangabad district on a priority basis — Kesra, Madipur, Keshap, Laladi, Hajipur, Amadpur, Fidabigha, Dakra and Chatar. He said five more would be added to the list later and the work completed in three months.

“It’s a little gesture by the state government to recognise the selfless service provided by the locals to the hapless passengers of the Rajdhani Express that derailed on September 9,” Khan said. Had the locals not reached the spot with lights and tools used for rescue work, the casualty figure would have been much more, he added.

Aurangabad Congress MP Shyama Sinha had yesterday lauded the villagers for their services. “I feel proud that people of my constituency came out in large numbers to help the victims. They have set up a high standard of social service,” she was quoted as saying.

The Aurangabad MP said she would request railway minister Nitish Kumar to absorb some youths in the railway as reward for their good work.

Another body found

Rescue workers clearing the crash debris have found one more body, adds PTI.

The body, which was pulled out yesterday, was in a pantry-car uniform, said commissioner, Magadh division, H.C. Sirohi, said. But it is yet to be identified.

Two fishplates, bolts, a nine-metre length of rail, 15 sleepers and other materials were collected as evidence by Magadh range DIG N.C. Dhondhiyal and Aurangabad SP Sunil Kumar Jha last evening. The duo had gone for an on-the-spot inquiry in connection with an FIR. Dhondhiyal said technical experts would examine the material. Jha has been told to visit the spot again today, he said.

Four more rail employees posted at Rafiganj have been questioned.

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