Centre enhances ex-gratia to victims of N Bengal train accident

New Delhi, June 17 (UNI) After eight people died in a collision between the Kanchanjungha express and a goods train on Monday in north Bengal, the central government enhanced its ex-gratia to Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of each deceased within hours.

The announcement was made by Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in a social media post on X.

“Enhanced ex-gratia compensation will be provided to the victims; ₹10 Lakh in case of death, ₹2.5 Lakh towards grievous and ₹50,000 for minor injuries,” he said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the tragedy and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each for the next of kin of deceased. A compensation of Rs 50,000 for each of those injured in the incident was also announced by the PMO.

Driver of the goods train and guard of the passenger express are among the eight dead declared so far in the train accident in Siliguri district. Chairman & CEO Railway Board Jaya Varma Sinha, confirmed that eight people have died, including three railway officials and five others, in this accident.

“Prima facie suggests human error as the cause. The first indications suggest that this is a case of signal disregard. Kavach needs to proliferate, as planned for West Bengal,” Sinha said.

Meanwhile, in a social media post on X, the Prime Minister said, “The railway accident in West Bengal is saddening. Condolences to those who lost their loved ones. I pray that the injured recover as the earliest. Spoke to officials and took stock of the situation. Rescue operations are underway to assist the affected.”

He also informed: “The Railways Minister @AshwiniVaishnaw Ji is on the way to the site of the mishap as well.”

A medical team from the Indian Army reached the spot to assist the civilian authorities, including many NGOs. The NDRF and DMG began the rescue operations earlier. The evacuation was, however, affected due to inclement weather. The rescuers were looking for any people stuck inside the mangled bogies. The first responders were locals though.

The CPRO NF Railway said 25 passengers have been wounded. Most of them were admitted to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital. Among the dead were the guard of Kanchanjunga Express Ashish Dey — the first one to be identified.

Meanwhile, rail traffic has been affected on Barsoi-New Jalpaiguri (NJP) rail section after the rail accident near Rangapani railway junction in West Bengal.

Surendra Kumar, Divisional Rail Manager of Katihar informed that the accident took place on the down line of the section. Nine trains including Dibrugarh New Delhi Rajdhani, Express , Howrah New Jalpaiguri Vande Bharat Express have been diverted to New Jalpaiguri -Siliguri- Bagdogra – Aluabari rail section. Several Guwahati, Agartala and North East bound trains are stranded at different railway stations on Barsoi- Jalpaiguri rail section after the accident.

The DRM informed that two trains including Radhikapur- Siliguri Intercity Express has been cancelled due to the accident.

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