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36 dead, 150 injured as Dehradun-Varanasi Janata Express derails in UP

36 dead, 150 injured as Dehradun-Varanasi Janata Express derails in UP
Though the exact cause of the derailment was not immediately known, officials at the mishap spot said the train apparently overshot a signal because of a possible brake failure before coming off the rails. The scene of the accident that occured at 9.10 AM was some 50 km from Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow.

"The death toll has mounted to 34. While 30 persons died in Rae Bareli, four were declared brought dead in Lucknow," UP Minister Manoj Kumar Pandey said. Officials feared that the casualties could go up.

One of the coaches was a general compartment, which lay mangled along the tracks as rescuers used gas cutters to rip apart the wreckage to find trapped people. Most of the casualties were from this coach, officials said.

The other was a guard compartment which is likely to have been vacant. If it was not vacant, the number of casualties would have been higher, the officials said.

The locomotive driver apparently overshot the signal and as a result, the engine and two adjoining coaches derailed, Railway Spokesperson Anil Saxena said in Delhi.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ordered an inquiry by the Commissioner Railway Safety of Northern Circle to ascertain the cause of the derailment.

The Railways announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of those killed in the accident. While Rs 50,000 will be given to those injured seriously, Rs 20,000 will be given to people with minor injuries.

Railway sources said the driver apparently applied the brake but the train did not stop raising suspicions of the failure of the braking system.

An eyewitness, who was travelling in the first bogey and was fortunate enough to jump at Bachrawan railway station where the train did not halt before the mishap, said he saw the driver and the guard frantically signalling from the doors.

35-year-old Shiv Mohan, whose bogey suffered the most damage, said, "It seemed as if the brakes had failed and both the driver and the guard were talking on the walkie-talkie and asking the station master to give the main line."

As soon as the news of the accident spread, people from nearby villages rushed to the spot to help in rescue and relief operations even before authorities arrived at the spot.

The accident spot presented a devastating sight with one of the bogies reduced to a mangle of steel.

There was some anxious moments in the area as furious locals raised slogans against the administration and railway authorities, saying the rescuers took a long time to reach the spot.

Ambulances carrying teams of doctors were rushed to the accident site to help passengers who were writhing in pain, eyewitnesses said.

Train movement on the Lucknow-Varanasi section of the Northern Railway has been disrupted due to the accident.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav announced a compensation of Rs two lakh to the kin of those killed and Rs 50,000 for the injured.
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