Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Collision of Train and School Van Kills 13 Children. Yogi draws flak for insensitive remark

Lucknow, April 26

Thirteen children died and eight others plus the driver of the vehicle were hospitalized when their school van was hit by a passenger train at an unmanned crossing early in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh on Thursday morning.

The accident happened when the allegedly minor school van driver missed spotting the oncoming train despite people waving to him to stop and attempted to cross the railway crossing. He apparently had headphones on while driving. Action has been initiated against the school management.

A wave of shock has jolted the Indian Railways to the hazards of unmanned crossings when. However the media is raising a hue and cry over the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s remarks to the sloganeering crowd at the accident site when he visited Kushinagar immediately after the accident.

The UP CM lost his cool as soon as he reached the site where 13 school kids died after the school van they were riding collided with a train at an unmanned railways crossing in Kushinagar.  As soon as Adityanath reached the accident site, a crowd gathered around his cavalcade and started chanting slogans like “Humein nyay do” (We want Justice).

“This is sad incident so kindly stop chanting slogans, I am telling you again, note it down, stop chanting slogans. Stop this ‘nautanki’, this is a sad incident. Kindly let us go through the area and inspect the accident site,” he said.

After inspecting the accident site in Kushinagar, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said, “I spoke to the Railways minister on ways to man the unmanned railway crossing. Prima facie it appears to be a mistake of the van driver. He had earphones on and there are questions about his age too. An inquiry will be conducted as to why the rules were not followed. Strict action will be taken against those found guilty,” Earlier in the day, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal ordered an inquiry into the accident and announced a compensation of Rs. 2 lakh for the kin of the deceased. The minister also said the Railways will provide an ex-gratia amount of Rs. 1 lakh for those with serious injuries and Rs. 50,000 for those simple injuries.

“My thoughts are with families of the deceased and I pray for the early recovery of the injured. Ministry of Railways will provide an ex-gratia amount of Rs. 2 lakh for kin of the deceased, Rs. 1 lakh for those with serious injuries and Rs. 50,000 for those with simple injuries,” the Railway Minister said in a statement.

The accident site is 90-100 km away from Gorakhpur, from where Yogi Adityanath has been five times sitting MP. In the wake of the death of 13 children after a train rammed their school van in Uttar Pradesh, the railways said it will eliminate all unmanned level crossings (UMLCs) by March 31, 2020.In the wake of the death of 13 children after a train rammed their school van in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, the railways said it will eliminate all unmanned level crossings (UMLCs) by March 31, 2020.

Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani also said no step the national carrier takes could be completely foolproof against negligence of people and urged them to be careful while crossing tracks.

“We are trying to eliminate UMLCs (unmanned level crossing) by March 31, 2020,” he said, hours after a passenger train hit the school van killing 13 children — all of them between the ages of 8-10 years on the spot. Eight others, including the driver of the van, were injured, officials said.

Lohani said till the UMLCs are eliminated, people have to be careful while crossing tracks. “There is no substitute to that. The railways cannot take any step that is completely foolproof against negligence.”

Dr. Shirin Abbas is the Bureau Chief "TheIndiaObserver.Com". She is a world-renowned journalist, winner of several national and international awards for her contribution to Media Research.The first recipient of the prestigious British Chevening Scholarship for Print Journalism in 1999 from her state of Uttar Pradesh. Under the same, she studied at the School of Media, Communication, and Design at the University Of Westminster, London and interned with The Irish Times, Dublin. She has been a journalist for over three decades, working at several national English dailies in North India. She completed her PhD. in Mass Communication in 2016.

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