A train rammed into a schoolbus in Uttar Pradesh's Kushinagar town on Thursday, killing 13 children and leaving eight others critically injured. The driver of the school bus is also in critical condition. A few of those injured, including the driver, were shifted to the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur, about 50 kilometres away.
The incident took place on Thursday morning at an unmanned railway crossing. The children, students of Divine Public School, were killed on the spot when the Thawe-Kapatanganj passenger train crashed into the vehicle carrying them at the unmanned level crossing gate at Behpurva, officials said.
The train was on its way to Gorakhpur from Siwan. There were at least 25 passengers, including children, in the vehicle which was smashed under the massive impact of the accident.
"It was an unmanned level crossing gate at Behpurva, with a 'Gate Mitra' (rail volunteer) deployed there. He tried to stop the vehicle but the unfortunate incident happened at unmanned gate 45 near Dudhi station in Banaras division," an official spokesperson said.
As public anger rose against the railway and state administration, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath rushed to the accident site for an on-the-spot assessment, and said prima facie the van driver appeared to be at fault. "He is said to have earphones on... all the facts will be known in the inquiry headed by the commissioner of Gorakhpur," he told the media after visiting the district hospital at Kushinagar where he met the injured.
Expressing condolences, the chief minister announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for families of the victims.
Adityanath also said that four children and the van driver have been referred to the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur for further treatment, and if required, they will be sent to a speciality hospital for treatment. He said the state government will take strict action against all those found responsible for the laxity.
Directives have already been issued to ensure safety of children to see that such incidents are not repeated and the inquiry report will find out where things had gone wrong in this case, the chief minister said.
When asked if the school was unregistered, he said that all facts will be known in the inquiry. "I have met the family members of the victims and both the state government and Railways will extend financial help. An FIR was being lodged into the case," he said.
The chief minister said he has spoken to the railway minister on the issue of train accidents at unmanned crossings and appealed to him to make them manned and if required ensure construction of railway overbridges.
Meanwhile, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the kin of the deceased. "I received the unfortunate news of the death of school children. I have asked senior officials to conduct a probe into the incident. Railways will give a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the kin of the dead over and above the aid announced by the Uttar Pradesh government," he said in a tweet.
Governor Ram Naik also condoled the death of minor children in the accident. Congress Legislature Party leader Ajay Singh Lallu also rushed to the accident site to supervise the relief work and demanded a compensation of Rs 50 lakh for the family of each deceased child.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Apr 26, 2018 14:48 PM