New Delhi: All services on Jalandhar-Amritsar route remained suspended three hours after Dussehra revellers standing across railway tracks were mowed down by a train near Amritsar on Friday evening, a railway official said.
While some trains are being diverted, many are stationed near Jalandhar, he said.
MoS Railways Manoj Sinha told reporters in New Delhi that medical teams are rushing to the spot. "I am also leaving for the site of the accident. As per initial information, people present near the railway track couldn't hear the sound of the approaching train due to bursting of crackers," he told before leaving for Amritsar.
Railways has issued helpline numbers — 0183-2223171, 0183-2564485 — for the kin of those injured and dead in the accident between Manawala and Ferozpur stations near Amritsar. The accident happened at around 7 pm, officials said.
Telephone numbers at Manawala station are: 0183-2440024, 0183-2402927; and at Ferozpur: 01632-1072.
At least 58 people — all Dussehra revellers watching the burning of Ravan effigies near the tracks — have died. At least 72 are injured.
The death toll, according to local officials, could rise drastically. The railways has so far refused to confirm even one death.
Railway officials termed the dead as "trespassers" and said they were unlikely to get any compensation from the national transporter as they were not passengers.
"Shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic train incident that occurred in Amritsar. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. I pray for the injured to recover quickly. Railways is conducting immediate relief and rescue operations," Goyal tweeted from the US, where he had gone to attend an event. He said he is returning to India immediately.
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh announced Rs 5 lakh for kin of each deceased and free treatment for the injured. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved Rs 2 lakh relief for the family of each of those who died in the accident and Rs 50,000 for those injured.
The accident comes days after five people died and around 35 injured after five coaches and the engine of the New Farakka Express (Train No. 14003) derailed near Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh on 12 October.
Updated Date: Oct 19, 2018 23:14:01 IST