Brahmaputra mail jumps tracks; 63 injured

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Siliguri, Dec 10: A pantry car staff was killed and about 63 passengers were injured, 36 of them seriously, when 13 bogies of the Delhi-bound Brahmaputra Mail got derailed at Nijabari, about 20 kms west of Siliguri last night, senior Northeast Frontier Railway official said today.

The critically injured, most of whom were security personnel, were admitted to NJP Railway hospital and North Bengal Medical College and Hospital, NFR's Chief Public Relations Officer Trikalogya Rava said. While 28 injured passengers were admitted to NJP hospital, eight were taken to NBMC hospital. The rest injured passengers were released after being given first aid.

Mr Rava said about 1200 to 1300 Delhi-bound stranded passengers were today taken to Katihar by two emergency relief vans and subsequently a special train left Kathihar for Delhi, Mr Rava said.

The accident occurred at 2315 hours last night when 13 compartments were derailed at Nijabari under Rangapani in Darjeeling district.

Preliminary investigation said loose cufflinks led to the accident. However, sabotage was not ruled out. The NFR top officials at the spot ordered a high level inquiry into the mishap.

The body of the pantry car staff, identifed as Md Inroz (26), a resident of Saharsha district in Bihar, was extracted from the mangled compartment after using gas cutters, Mr Rava said. High officials from Guwahati and Katihar were still at the accident site investigating details and overseeing the remaining relief works.

The accident has badly affected train traffic on up and down lines since last night. Though up line was resumed this afternoon, the down line would take some more hours to be fully restored, said the chief PRO of the NFR.

However, unofficial sources put the toll at three.

Brahmaputra Mail was in the headlines on August 1, 1999, when at least 400 pasengers died after the train hit the stationary Awadh-Assam Express head-on at Gaisal, some 100 kms from Siliguri.

UNI

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