Kanchanjunga Express accident: Centre announces Rs 10 lakh ex-gratia to kin of deceased

Locals gather after a collision between the Kanchanjungha Express and a goods train, near Rangapani railway station. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Minister for Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw announced that the Central Government will give Rs 10 lakh ex-gratia to the kin of people who lost lives in the Kanchanjunga Express train accident in West Bengal. The government has confirmed that 18 people were killed and 60 were injured after a goods train rammed into the Kanchanjunga Express on Monday morning near New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. 

Earlier Prime Minister's Office announced that Rs 2 lakh would be given to the next of kin of each deceased in the railway mishap. But an hour later, the railway minister announced the enhanced compensation to the families of the victims and injured. As per the new decision, Rs 2.5 lakh will be given to those who suffered severe injuries and Rs 50,000 will be given to people who escaped with minor injuries.

“Enhanced ex-gratia compensation will be provided to the victims; ₹10 Lakh in case of death, ₹2.5 Lakh towards grievous and ₹50,000 for minor injuries,” the minister wrote on X.

The Railway Minister will reach the accident spot to take stock of the situation. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is also expected to visit the site. According to reports, Darjeeling MP Raju Bista reached the accident spot in Ruidhasa to monitor the situation.

 As the number of injured persons getting admitted to the hospitals in north Bengal started increasing, the state health department has enquired about the amount of blood in reserve there. The leaves of all medical staff and those associated with the emergency departments have been cancelled for an indefinite period.

Rescue operation underway after a collision between the Kanchanjungha Express and a goods train, near Rangapani railway station. Photo: PTI

Meanwhile, the North Bengal State Corporate Corporation (NBSTC) had decided to run special buses between Siliguri and Kolkata to help the other passengers travelling by the ill-fated train to Kolkata. Following the accident at the spot, which is the principal railway connectivity route between West Bengal and northeast India, the Railways have diverted the routes of several long-distance trains, including Rajdhani Express and Vande Bharat Express. The Northeast Frontier Railways have announced several helpline numbers on this count.

Three rear compartments of the express train derailed under the impact of the collision from behind by the locomotive of the goods train, railway officials said.
The divisional railway manager (DRM) of North Frontier Railway's Katihar division said the 13174 Kanchanjunga Express was bound for Sealdah from Agartala and the accident occurred around 9 am.
(With agency inputs)

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