The Commissioner of Railway Safety, Eastern Circle, was entrusted with the inquiry into the accident at the Goldenganj station in Saran district, about 75 km from Patna which left four passengers dead and 23 injured, Gowda told reporters near the accident spot after arriving from Patna. Earlier at Patna, Gowda told mediapersons that it was too early to talk about reasons behind the derailment and the involvement of Maoists. "It will be too early to identify one single reason for the tragedy... I will get in touch with railway officials to gather details about it," he said. Bihar CM rules out possibility of sabotage Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi disputed that the accident was caused by Maoists. Too early to blame Naxals for Rajdhani derailment: Rajnath “The PM has condoled the loss of lives due to the accident of the Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express. He prays for the speedy recovery of the injured,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said on Twitter. The Prime Minister is in touch with Union Railway Minister, who has updated him on the relief work at the accident site. President expresses grief over loss of lives BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy assesses situation Bharatiya Janata Party leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who is also the Lok Sabha member from Saran where the accident took place, visited the spot. Sonia Gandhi expresses grief New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express mishap (IN PICS) (JPN/Agencies)
Gowda inspected the accident spot and enquired from officials about the disaster, accompanied by Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi and Lok Sabha member from Saran Rajiv Pratap Rudy.
He bent on the tracks to have a look beneath the bogies and also climbed into some compartments to have a first-hand view.
"Something went wrong," he observed.
The Railway Minister praised the Saran district administration for speedy relief and rescue operations together with railway officials.
He thanked local people for coming forward to assist passengers and praised Rudy for being on hand since the early hours to supervise the relief and rescue operation.
Gowda later visited the Sadar hospital in Chapra to meet the injured.
Railway had intelligence about possible Maoist attack in Bihar
The Railway Ministry had intelligence inputs about a possible Maoist attack on rail properties in Tirhut and Saran regions of Bihar, a senior RPF official claimed.
"There were intelligence reports of possible Maoist attack on rail properties in Tirhut and Saran region and accordingly Railway Ministry had alerted the East Central Railway, GRP and district administrations," the official said.
Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Chapra and Hazipur are among the areas which comprise Tirhut and Saran regions in Bihar.
Expressing concern over the Rajdhani derailment, All-India Railwaymen's Federation General Secretary Shiv Gopal Mishra said ‘though the exact cause will be known only after the inquiry, it seems to be a sabotage case’.
Mishra said a railway employee and his wife died in the incident while the couple's son and daughter were injured.
He said the casualty in the derailment could have been more had it not been LHB coaches which are equipped with features which prevent compartments piling on each other or tumbling over in derailment.
"Prima facie it does not appear to be the handiwork of Maoists in the Rajdhani derailment at Chapra," he told reporters.
"No trace of blast on the track or any other evidence suggesting sabotage was found so far," he said.
"It appears to be a result of error on the part of Railways," he said.
Manjhi said he spoke to the Railway Minister and drew his attention toward announcement of ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the families of the dead when the standard practice was to pay Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia in such cases.
Former Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar also expressed similar views over the unfortunate incident.
The Bihar government has ordered an inquiry into the accident.
"State Home Secretary Amir Subhani has asked the Saran district magistrate and superintendent of police to inquire into it and submit their report soon," an official said.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said it was too early to blame the Maoists for the derailment of the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express.
"I have spoken directly to rail officials on the spot. The Prime Minister has been informed regarding all developments. Even he agrees that it is too early to blame the Naxals. Let us wait for further report on the incident," he said.
Singh, however, said the derailment of a goods train at Motihari, about 60 km away from the site of Rajdhani Express mishap, could be the handiwork of Maoists.
The Home Minister also expressed condolences to the family members of those who lost their lives in the mishap.
PM expresses grief over loss of lives
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday condoled the loss of lives in the train mishap.
President Pranab Mukherjee also expressed grief over the loss of lives and hoped that authorities will take necessary measures to urgently investigate the cause behind the accident.
"I am saddened to learn about the derailment of a train near Chhapra (in Bihar) this morning, in which some persons have lost their lives and many others are injured.
"I call upon the state government and railway authorities to provide all possible assistance to the bereaved families as well as the best of medical attention to the injured," Mukherjee said.
He hoped that the authorities concerned will take measures to urgently probe the cause behind the accident.
"I am sure authorities will be also taking necessary measures to urgently investigate the cause of the incident and put in place necessary remedial measures," the President said.
"This is a very serious issue. Undoubtedly, there has been a Maoist threat in this area. But I do not want to go in the merit of the case because it looks like a sabotage, possibly because of what I understand after looking at the tracks," Rudy said.
"I just spoke to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister and have briefed them about the incident. Both of them are concerned," he told a TV channel.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi also expressed grief over the loss of lives in the mishap and hoped that the cause behind the accident was being investigated.
Gogoi for free treatment to injured Rajdhani passengers
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi requested his Bihar counterpart Jitan Ram Manjhi to provide free medical treatment to the injured passengers.
Gogoi, who spoke to the Bihar Chief Minister over phone, requested him to take steps to provide free medical treatment to the injured passengers and make arrangements for stranded passengers to reach Guwahati.
The Chief Minister directed Deputy Inspector General of Police-Western Range Surendra Kumar to keep in touch with the Assam Government for relief work at the accident site at Golden Ganj station near Chapra.
Gogoi also urged the Centre to raise the ex-gratia grant from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of the dead. He expressed his condolences to the members of bereaved families and prayed for speedy recovery of the injured.
Lalu blames railway officials for accident
Former railway minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav blamed railway officials for the mishap.
"I have been the Railway Minister and I know that a pilot engine is run 30 minutes ahead of Rajdhani Express trains. This is done to check whether the line is clear and tracks are safe. It seems this was not done in this case and the accident happened," Yadav said over telephone.
"This is a clear cut case of negligence by railway officials. I want to know why the pilot engine was not run on the tracks before the Rajdhani Express was scheduled to cross the area," he added.
Reacting to the possibility of sabotage by Maoists, Yadav said even in that case it was the responsibility of the Railways to ensure safety of passengers.
"The Maoists had announced the blockade and given prior information. If the accident has happened due sabotage, I severely condemn it, but at the same time the Railways should have taken additional precaution to thwart any such accident," he said.
Railway issues list of dead, injured passengers
At least four passengers were killed and 23 others injured when 12 coaches of the Dibrugarh- bound Rajdhani Express derailed near Chapra in Bihar's Saran district, with a controversy arising whether the Maoists had a hand in it.
As per the list of dead and injured passengers received from East Central Railway, the deceased were identified as Bharti Bedi (45) wife of Sanjiv Bedi of Ferozepur in Punjab, Pawan Kumar Dhawan (55) and his wife Neelam Dhawan (42), besides Shefali Dey (65) wife of Anil Chandra Dey of Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh.
Northeast Frontier Railway Chief Public Relations Officer Sugato Lahiri said the grievously injured passengers, including three women and a girl, were admitted to Patna Medical College Hospital.
They are Jitendra Nath Verma son of Upendra Nath Verma of Barpeta in Assam, Vipul Shukla son of Ambuja Shukla of Baija in Guwahati, Shivali Sharma wife of P C Sharma of Guwahati, Mauli Dhawan son of Pawan Kumar Dhawan of Ferozepur in Punjab, Ashisho Saikia son of Anand Lal Saikia of Guwahati, Rita Nath wife of Dineswar Nath of Guwahati, Chameli Devi wife of Sewa Ram of Pilibhit, Archana Beri (12) daughter of Sanjay Beri of Ferozepur in Punjab and Tega Ram son of Nanhe Lal of Pilibhit.
Those who have received simple injury, including two women and an infant girl have been admitted to Chapra Sadar Hospital. They are Ranjit, Ram Prasad, Badamu Devi, Saloni (9 months), Ahmad Raja, Mishant, Ram Dayal Singh, Manju Sindh and Jan Dil, Lahiri said.
Two incidents involving Dibrugrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express and a goods train in the region occurred on Wednesday and railways suspect it to be sabotage by Maoists.
"Prima facie, it appears to be a case of sabotage. There was a blast on the track, which could have caused the derailment," Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar said.
"Another goods train, 60 kms away from the station, also got derailed due to a blast. 18 wagons got derailed in the accident," Kumar said.
Altogether 18 wagons of a goods train also derailed in a blast in East Champaran district suspected to have been triggered by the ultras, Superintendent of Police Vinay Kumar said.
Seven coaches, B-5 to B-10 and the power car of the New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani derailed at the Golden Ganj station, about 75 km from Patna, while five coaches, B-1, B-2, B-3, B-4 and the pantry car overturned at around 2:11 AM, Chief Public Relations Officer of East Central Railway Arvind Kumar Rajak said.
Some of the coaches were hurled as far as 700 feet away from the track, he said.
Three passengers were killed and another succumbed to injuries in hospital, Rajak said.
Saran District Magistrate Kundan Kumar also said that the accident seemed be due to operational problems and not caused by Maoists.
He told reporters that another train Kaviguru Express had crossed the area safely 15 minutes before the ill-fated Rajdhani Express.
Moreover, the place where the train derailed was not a secluded place, but in a town with regular railway traffic. Therefore, any attempt to plant bombs or other Maoist activity of Maoists could have been easily spotted, the DM said.
Kumar also said the casualty would have been higher, if it was an act of sabotage.
13 of the seriously injured were taken to the Patna Medical College and Hospital, its Principal Amarkant Jha Amar said. The rest were being treated at Chapra, he said.
Terming it as a 'night to forget', passengers recollected the fear and shock following the accident.
Rita Nath of Guwahati, who suffered head and chest injuries and was travelling in coach number B-2 of the train said "all the passengers in the coach had dinner early and went to sleep.
"I was sleeping on my berth when I suddenly felt the train tilting to one side. It tumbled over before I could get up. I lost my consciousness after that," Rita told reporters from her bed at the Patna Medical College and Hospital here.
NDRF Commandant Vijay Sinha said the maximum casualty was noticed in coach B2. Bodies of the three dead were extricated from under the same bogey, he said over phone.
Sinha said railway cranes had arrived and would lift all the coaches to look for any more victims.
"We will check all the coaches 3-4 times to see if any more body are still there," he said.
Northeast Frontier Railway Chief Public Relations Officer Sugato Lahiri here said helpline numbers were set up to provide information to families of the victims and other passengers.
The helpline numbers were Chapra 06152–243409, 09771443941; Samastipur 06274–222613; Hajipur 06224 272230; Sonpur 06158-221639; Barauni 06279-265210; Mujaffarpur 0621- 2213034; Lucknow 09794830976; Varanasi 0542-2226778, 2224742; Balia 05498-223024, 09794843923.
The other phone numbers were Guwahati 0361-2731621; Dibrugarh 0373-2300131; Tinsukia 0374-2351549; Mariani 03771- 242044; Dimapur 03862-2291732; Lumding 03674-263366; New Coochbehar 03582-224162; New Jalpaiguri 0353-2691808 and Katihar 06452-230068.
The Commissioner of Railway Safety, Eastern Circle, was entrusted with the inquiry into the accident at the Goldenganj station in Saran district, about 75 km from Patna which left four passengers dead and 23 injured, Gowda told reporters near the accident spot after arriving from Patna.
Earlier at Patna, Gowda told mediapersons that it was too early to talk about reasons behind the derailment and the involvement of Maoists.
"It will be too early to identify one single reason for the tragedy... I will get in touch with railway officials to gather details about it," he said.
Bihar CM rules out possibility of sabotage
Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi disputed that the accident was caused by Maoists.
Too early to blame Naxals for Rajdhani derailment: Rajnath
“The PM has condoled the loss of lives due to the accident of the Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express. He prays for the speedy recovery of the injured,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said on Twitter.
The Prime Minister is in touch with Union Railway Minister, who has updated him on the relief work at the accident site.
President expresses grief over loss of lives
BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy assesses situation
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who is also the Lok Sabha member from Saran where the accident took place, visited the spot.
Sonia Gandhi expresses grief
New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express mishap (IN PICS)