Nine people died and 36 were injured as 12 coaches of the Guwahati-Bikaner Express Train derailed in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district on Thursday evening, PTI reported.
Three of the persons who died have not been identified yet, said Guneet Kaur, chief public relations officer of Northeastern Frontier Railway.
She added that 23 injured persons are being treated at the Super Specialty Hospital in Jalpaiguri, six are undergoing treatment at North Bengal Medical College and seven are at the Maynaguri Rural Hospital.
Passenger relief operations at the site of the accident are now over, Kaur said.
Jalpaiguri District Magistrate Moumita Godara Basu said that some injured passengers are in critical condition and the toll may increase, PTI reported. “We are now using cranes for removing the damaged compartments,” she added.
The Indian Railways said a high-level inquiry has been ordered to probe the cause of the accident, reported ANI.
Visuals on social media showed a number of overturned coaches lying down the elevated tracks.
The train was headed to Guwahati in Assam via Patna. The accident took place around 5.15 pm when the train was passing through Moynaguri town.
“Following a sudden jerk, several bogies overturned,” one of the passengers told ANI.
The Northeast Frontier Railway in a statement said there were 1,053 passengers on board the train when the coaches went off track.
Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw visited the accident site on Friday morning. He said that a preliminary investigation showed that there was a glitch in the locomotive equipment, according to ANI. “The Commission of Rail Safety is conducting an inquiry to find the root cause behind the accident,” he said.
On Thursday, he had said in a tweet that he was personally monitoring the rescue operations and had apprised the prime minister about them.
The Railways has announced ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh for the relatives of those who died, Rs 1 lakh to those who sustained grievous injuries and Rs 25,000 to those who suffered minor injuries. Ex-gratia payment has already been given to 29 injured persons, the Northeast Frontier Railway said.
A special train left from the site of the derailment at 9.50 pm carrying 290 passengers and was expected to reach Guwahati in the early morning on Friday.
Several trains have been diverted to alternate routes, some have been short terminated and some have been cancelled due to the accident.
Early on Friday, the Northeast Frontier Railway released updated helpline numbers on which people can call for information about the incident.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that senior government and police officers were supervising rescue and relief operations and that injured person will be given medical attention as soon as possible.