Thursday, 24 July 2014

Telangana: 20 children killed as school bus and train collide

A passenger train rammed into a school bus at an unmanned railway crossing in Telangana's Medak district on Thursday killing at least 20 children and injuring 15 with fears the death toll could rise further, officials said.

South Central Railway officials said the accident occurred between Masayipet and Wadiaram railway stations on Secunderabad-Nizamabad section of Hyderabad division at 9.10am.

Masayipet is in Veldurti mandal of Medak district, about 70 km from Hyderabad.

The bus was ferrying at least 40 children to a private school - Kakatiya Techno School - located at Tupran. Three of the children travelling on the bus are safe.

The bus driver was also killed on the spot. The bus was dragged several hundred metres down the tracks.

Mangled remains of the bus and the bodies of the children could be seen near the tracks.

The Nanded-Secunderabad Passenger train was travelling from Nanded in Maharashtra to Hyderabad.

No one on the train was killed, officials said.

The injured were moved to nearby hospitals in Kompally.

"We are moving the kids to Hyderabad. We are making every effort to save the lives of the injured kids," said Telangana education minister Jagadeeswar Reddy at a local hospital.

Tense scenes prevailed at the accident site as the locals demanding justice – compensation and action against officials - blocked the authorities from taking away the bodies in ambulances.

Police had to resort to a mild baton-charge to control the stone pelting mob.

Locals alleged that the crossing was left unmanned despite their requests in the past.

Some of the parents who arrived at the accident site fainted after seeing their little ones.

Reports said a father of two kids, who were killed in the accident, died of heart attack after the news of the accident came in.

Telangana chief minister K Chadrasekhara Rao expressed shock over the accident and reviewed the situation with chief secretary Rajiv Sharma and director general of police Anurag Sharma.

Rao will visit Yashoda Hospital in Secunderabad where some of the injured children have been admitted.

He ordered the officials to take necessary steps to extend all medical assistance to the injured.

Telangana irrigation minister T Harish Rao and transport minister P Mahender Reddy visited a hospital where the injured were admitted and also rushed to the accident spot.

State home minister Naini Narsimha Reddy expressed his condolences.

"It is a sad incident. A thorough inquiry will be conducted and action will be taken against those responsible," he said.

Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu and leader of opposition Jaganmohan Reddy expressed shock and paid their condolences over the unfortunate incident.

Reddy also visited the accident spot.

Unmanned crossings

Accidents at unmanned railway crossings are common and the Indian Railways says they happen because of negligence of road users.

There are about 14,000 unmanned crossings across the country.

Railway minister DV Sadananda Gowda had put greater emphasis on passenger safety and security in his maiden budget earlier this month.

To ensure passenger safety, funds to the tune of Rs. 40,000 crore would be required to be invested in track renewals, elimination of unmanned level crossings and construction of road under-bridges and over-bridges.

For 2014-15, Gowda has allocated Rs. 1,785 crore for the construction of road underbridges and overbridges.

Railway officials say this would go a long way in bringing down casualties at level crossings; 40% of all rail casualties occur at unmanned crossings.

The railway minister had also announced the government's decision to eliminate unmanned level crossings altogether.

Thursday 24 July 2014


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