Paswan demands judicial probe on West Bengal train mishap

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Patna/Kolkata/New Delhi, July 19 (ANI): Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan on Monday demanded a judicial probe into the train mishap in West Bengal's Birbhum District and blamed Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee for the accident that claimed the lives of at least 60 passengers and left over 90 others injured.

"It is a serious lapse on the part of the railways.There were no Naxal activities and no fog even then such a major accident occurred," said Paswan.

Paswan alleged that Mamata Banerjee was concentrating on poll-bound West Bengal alone at the cost of the Railways, and asked her to make her stand clear whether she would concentrate only on her home state or look into the affairs of her Ministry with some seriousness.

RJD chief Lalu Yadav said: "I don't understand why such accidents are taking place...This is a sad incident and a serious lapse."

Banerjee today said there was some doubt over the West Bengal train accident.

Banerjee told reporters while leaving for the accident site: "We have some doubt in our mind. We are searching for information. Let us now find details."

"We are really sorry for this. Sorry to see two incidents take place in West Bengal in two months. We will take necessary action. We will take strong steps whoever is behind this," she added.

Banerjee also declared an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh for the dead and Rs one lakh to the injured.

She also promised jobs to the kin of the dead.

Meanwhile, the Railways did not rule out the possibility of sabotage in the train collision involving Uttarbanga Express and the Vananchal Express.

"Nothing can be ruled out. It may be possible that our equipment might have been tampered with. It will be known only after inquiry. The Commissioner of Railway safety is holding an inquiry after which we will be able to know what exactly happened," said Eastern Railways General Manager V N Tripathy.

"What caused the accident is a mystery to us. The driver of the Uttarbanga Express was a very good driver. He had stopped the train properly at previous station. We are puzzled," he added.

Tripathy further said all the bodies had been extricated from the damaged compartments and all injured rescued.

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has deployed five teams of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) consisting of 140 personnel to assist in the rescue and relief operations.

Meanwhile, the Army sent a 167-member team of doctors, engineers and technical specialists to help rescue operations.

According to sources a team of seven Army officers and 170 jawans left for the site following a request from the West Bengal and railway administrations.

About 175 bottles of blood are being rushed from neighbouring hospitals to the hospitals in Rampurhat and Shiuri where the injured have been admitted.

An inquiry headed by the Commissioner of Railway Safety has been ordered into the incident.

Railway authorities have opened several helpline numbers and control rooms in Sealdah, Malda, Bhagalpur and Howrah.

Helpline numbers: Ranchi: 0651-2600263/64, 2460488, 2461404 -- Sealdah: 033-23503535, 23503537, -- Malda: 06436-222061 -- Bhagalpur: 06412-4222433 -- Jamalpur 063444-3101. (ANI)

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