The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hospitals grapple with splinters

Kamakhyaguri (Alipurduar), Feb. 5: Biraj Roy had just got off the Up Kamrup Express. The hawker from Cheko had sold a few toys on the train and thought of boarding the Down Kamrup, which was due in another 45 minutes or so. It was 1.11 pm.

The last thing Roy remembered was a loud bang and “people moving about aimlessly”.

“When I came back to my senses, I found myself on the hospital bed,” said Roy before losing his senses once again.

The hawker was among the three who were rushed to Kamakhyaguri Block Health Centre, located near the station where the blast had blown off the asbestos shade of Platform 2.

Sunil Nandi, a seller of lottery tickets, and Tarak Debnath, another hawker from Chakchaka in Cooch Behar, were the other two who were brought to the centre. Debnath was later taken to MJN Hospital in Cooch Behar in a private ambulance.

All the three injured were unconscious when they were brought to the block health centre. After first-aid, the authorities at the block health centre expressed their inability to perform the necessary operations to bring out the splinters from bodies due to the lack of proper infrastructure. After Debnath, it was Roy and Nandi, a resident of Stationpara, near here, who were shifted.

Both were taken to Alipurduar Junction railway Hospital. Doctors at the railway hospital brought out the splinters from Roy’s body. He had been severely injured in the leg. In the evening, he was taken to NBMCH after his condition deteriorated.

It took quite sometime for the authorities at the health centre to find out the names and addresses of the injured. Some of the hawkers, who were on the platform, helped track down Roy and Debnath’s families.

“Unless the government provides us medical assistance, we will be in trouble,” said Nandi.

The Congress MP from Darjeeling Dawa Narbula said he will raise the issue of track security at a meeting called tomorrow by the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) in New Jalpaiguri.

“Today’s explosion is serious, especially after the one at Belakoba. The administration should take the help of the military to ward off further possibilities of similar terrorist strikes,” he said.

The meeting with Parliamentarians from Bengal, Bihar, Sikkim and Assam had been called earlier by the general manager of the NFR to discuss the development of the railways.

Senior officials connected with railway security have admitted that a shortage of manpower prevented proper vigil of all railway property. “We have been concentrating on the main stations and trains but Belakoba (28 km from Siliguri) and now Kamakhyaguri have shown that extremist elements are targeting smaller stations where the vigil is less,” one of them said. “Our strategies have to be re-drawn,” he added.

Inspector-general of the north Bengal police K.L. Meena said today it was difficult to say at this moment as to who is responsible for today’ explosion.

“Investigations are on. We have collected samples from the blast spot and will be sending them to the forensic laboratories in Calcutta,” Meena said

The superintendent of Jalpaiguri police, Tripurari, could not give any details. “Give us some time,” he said.

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