Sainthia train mishap toll rises to 66, inquiry ordered

Three injured passengers of the Vananchal Express succumbed to injuries today (Tuesday) at the Burdwan Medical College Hospital, Eastern Railway sources said.

36 of the injured had been referred to the Burdwan Medical College Hospital from Suri Sadar Hospital in Birbhum district on Monday, the sources said.

Altogether, 28 unidentified bodies have been sent to Burdwan hospital for preservation. The sources said that identification was taking time because most of the dead hailed from remote areas in Bihar.

Ruling out sabotage in the collision of Vananchal Express and Uttarbanga Express, West Bengal DGP Bhupinder Singh said the CID would investigate the mishap. He said the police had registered a case under section 279 (Rash driving), 337, 338 (Causing hurt/grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 427 (Mischief causing damage) and 304 (a) (Causing death by negligence) of IPC.

To a query, the officer said there was no time-frame and the terms of reference were to ascertain whether there was any negligence which invoked criminal action. A statutory inquiry by the Civil Aviation Ministry would be held tomorrow by R P Yadav, Commissioner of Railway Safety (Eastern Circle) Kolkata, of the Ministry at the station manager's office at Sainthia and at the conference room of DRM, Howrah the next day, the sources said.

Meanwhile, train services on the Khana-Rampurhat section of the Howrah division have been restored. A goods train was run at around 3:00 pm yesterday after the tracks were cleared of the three wrecked coaches of the Vananchal Express. Train services on both the up and down lines through the Khana-Rampurhat section of the Howrah division of the Eastern Railway were normal, the sources said.

The mishap took place when the Ranchi-bound Vananchal Express was hit from behind by Uttarbanga Express at Sainthia station in Birbhum district on Monday.

This was the second major railway mishap in West Bengal after the May 28 Jnaneswari Express disaster in West Midnapore district, which left 148 passengers dead.

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