Kanchanjunga Express Collision, PM Announces ₹2 Lakh Ex-Gratia

15 dead, injures many; prompts high-level investigation
Kanchanjunga Express Collision, PM Announces ₹2 Lakh Ex-Gratia

On Monday morning, a tragic accident occurred when the Kolkata-bound Kanchanjungha Express collided with a goods train near New Jalpaiguri railway station in West Bengal. The crash resulted in 15 fatalities and injured around 20-25 people. LiveMint is providing ongoing updates on the incident.

A senior North Frontier Railway (NFR) official confirmed that the Sealdah-bound Kanchanjungha Express was involved. Abhishek Roy, Additional Superintendent of Police in Darjeeling, reported from the scene that the goods train collided with the rear of the Kanchanjungha Express, leading to significant damage and casualties. He noted, "Five people have died, and 25 to 30 people are injured. The number may increase further."

In response, the state has increased bus services to aid in the commutation from the affected area. Partha Pratim Roy, Chairman of North Bengal Rashtriya Paribahan Nigam (NBSTC), announced that 10 buses have been sent to rescue stranded passengers, with additional services planned for later.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will visit the accident site to oversee the relief operations. The accident was due to human error, as the driver of the passenger train ignored a signal, according to Jaya Varma Sinha, Chairman and CEO of the Railway Board.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ex-gratia payment of ₹2 lakh from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for the families of each deceased, and ₹50,000 for the injured. Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw is also set to visit the site.

President Draupadi Murmu expressed her condolences, wishing for a quick recovery for the injured and success in the rescue operations.

RJD leader Bhai Virendra criticized the government’s handling of railway safety, saying, "In a country with privatized railways, accidents are inevitable. Previously, ministers resigned after such incidents. Now, no minister resigns. We have no hope from this government... This government is responsible for these issues."

According to railway sources, a high-level investigation will be conducted into the incident. The primary focus is to successfully complete the rescue operation.