At least nine dead and 36 injured in train accident in India

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  • Ashwini Vaishnaw
Disaster management and rescue teams work at the site of a train accident near Maynaguri railway station in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal on 13 January 2022 (AFP via Getty Images)
Disaster management and rescue teams work at the site of a train accident near Maynaguri railway station in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal on 13 January 2022 (AFP via Getty Images)

A train derailment in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal has led to the deaths of at least nine people.

Seven people were initially reported dead in the accident that occurred on Thursday. But the toll increased after two more bodies were recovered on Friday.

As many as 36 people were reportedly injured after 12 coaches of the Bikaner-Guwahati express train derailed and overturned near Maynaguri town in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district.

The injured are being treated at the North Bengal Medical College, Maynaguri Rural Hospital and Jalpaiguri Super Speciality Hospital, reported the Indian Express.

Federal railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw reached the accident site on Friday morning.

In his address to the media, Mr Vaishnaw announced an inquiry into matter, adding that prime minister Narendra Modi was also monitoring the situation.

“It is a very unfortunate incident. A statutory inquiry has been initiated,” he said.

“What caused the accident is being investigated. PM Modi is also monitoring the situation and I am in constant touch with him. I wish a speedy recovery to the injured.”

The minister told news agency ANI that the preliminary inquiry revealed a glitch in the locomotive equipment.

The commission of railway safety will investigate the cause behind the accident, according to the India Today news network.

The government has also announced a compensation of Rs 500,000 (£4,914) for the deaths, Rs 100,000 (£982) for grievous injury and Rs 25,000 (£245) for simple injury.

India’s Northeast Frontier Railway said in a statement that rescue operations had been completed.

It added that there were 1,053 passengers on board at the time of the accident.

The train had started its journey from the western Indian city of Bikaner late on Wednesday night and was supposed to reach the eastern Indian Guwahati city on Friday morning. The train was running late for a little more than two hours.

“Passengers were sent to Guwahati by a special train,” reported news agency ANI, quoting federal minister of state John Barla, who was elected from West Bengal.

Jalpaiguri district magistrate Moumita Godara Basu had earlier said four bodies were found at the site of the train accident, while three others had succumbed to injuries at the hospital, reported Hindustan Times.

“Since some of the injured are in a critical condition, the toll may go up. We are now using cranes for removing the damaged compartments,” she had said on Thursday.

West Bengal’s chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted about the accident on Thursday.

“Deeply concerned to hear about the tragic accident of the Bikaner-Guwahati Express in Maynaguri,” she wrote.

“Senior Officers of the State Government, DM/SP/IG [district magistrate, superintendent of police and inspector general of police] North Bengal are supervising rescue and relief operations. Those injured will receive medical attention, as early as possible,” she said.

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