Probe ordered into train-bus collision

Patna, Sept. 27 -- Union minister of state for railways KH Muniyappa on Wednesday said that the Railways had ordered an inquiry into the circumstances that led to the mishap at an unmanned railway crossing near Chapadhal on Wednesday. Seven persons were killed and more than a dozen injured when the Howrah-Kathgodam Express rammed into a bus near Chapadhal.

Muniyappa said the inquiry team would be led by commissioner for railway safety (CRS), eastern region.

Talking to media men at JPN International Airport here, Muniyappa said the matter was serious and totally unexpected because the train-bus collision had taken place at a manned railway crossing.

"It is a serious matter that the accident had taken place at a manned railway crossing. Railway minister CP Joshi has talked to the officials of the railway board and directed them to start an inquiry to ascertain the real cause of accident," Muniyappa said. He added that Joshi had also expressed his deep sorrow over the incident.

He said the real cause of the accident would be known after CRS submitted its report to the railway ministry. "But I can only say that serious action would be taken against the real culprit," he added.

Muniyappa, who immediately rushed to the PMCH from the airport to meet the injured persons admitted at the hospital, said the Railways had already started converting all unmanned railway crossings in the country to manned railway crossings.

"According to an estimate, there are about 14,000 unmanned railway crossings across the country. The Railways has set a goal to convert these unmanned railway crossings into manned railway crossings by 2015-16. It will provide ROBs and other facilities wherever they are needed," he said.

Replying to another question regarding pending railway projects in the state, Muniyappa said he had talked to chief minister Nitish Kumar regarding this. "Kumar himself was a railway minister. So, he has good knowledge about such issues. He has assured us of cooperation regarding pending railway projects in the state," he said. Muniyappa will proceed from PMCH to Siwan where the accident took place.

Member, traffic, K K Shrivastava, several senior railway officials from ECR and Danapur division were present at the airport.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.