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Eight Killed in India Train Crash

Eight people have died and around 60 have been injured in a train crash in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal.

The accident occurred when a goods train hit a stationary passenger train, the Kanchenjungha Express, in the New Jalpaiguri area on Monday morning.

Dramatic visuals from the accident site showed one wagon of the express train suspended in the air.

Authorities say “human error” may have led to the crash and a detailed investigation will be held.

India has one of the largest train networks in the world with millions of passengers using it daily, but a lot of the railway infrastructure needs to be improved or upgraded.

Officials said ambulances and disaster teams were sent to the accident site for rescue efforts soon after the accident at 08:55 local time (03:25 GMT).

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed shock and said action was being taken on a “war footing”.

The dead include the driver and the assistant driver of the goods train and the guard of Kanchenjungha Express.

“Rescue operations have been completed,” Jaya Varma Sinha, CEO of the Railway Board, told a press conference.

The injured, she said, were being treated at a medical college in Siliguri city. “Our first priority is for them to get the best medical aid possible.”

The official said that human error seemed to be the likely cause of the accident. “As per initial investigation, it seems that the driver of the goods train disregarded the signal.”

She added that Kavach, an automatic train protection system developed by the Indian Railways, needed to be planned and expanded for West Bengal state.

A police official told reporters that the engine of the goods train was damaged while three coaches of the express train were derailed.

A rescue official told the Times of India they avoided using gas cutters during the relief efforts because it could endanger the lives of those trapped in the train.

He said relief efforts were also slowed by heavy rain in the area.

Federal Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said relief teams had worked in close coordination with railway officials to carry out rescue operations.

The minister was due to reach the accident site soon.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the incident “saddening” and said he had spoken to officials about the rescue efforts.

“Condolences to those who lost their loved ones. I pray that the injured recover at the earliest,” he wrote on X.

He announced a compensation of 200,000 rupees ($2,394, £1,890) for the families of the dead and 50,000 rupees for each of the injured passengers.

Mr Vaishnaw later announced an enhanced compensation of 1m rupees for the dead, 250,000 rupees for those with grievous injuries and 50,000 rupees for those with minor injuries.

The railways have set up a control desk with a helpline number at Rangapani station, near which the collision took place.

Last year, a devastating crash involving three trains in the eastern state of Odisha had killed around 290 people and left more than 1,000 injured.

After Monday’s crash, India’s opposition leaders criticised the government for its “utter mismanagement” of the railways.

Congress party chief Mallikarjun Kharge alleged Mr Modi’s government had turned the railways into a platform for “self-promotion”.

Kunal Ghosh, a member of West Bengal’s governing Trinamool Congress (TMC) Party, also blamed Mr Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“There is no safety of passengers, no improvement in technology and a lack of maintenance of the service,” he said.

The government and the railway ministry have not responded to these accusations yet.



Source: BBC

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