Death Toll in Train Accident Rises to 120; At least 11 from Bihar

Crowd at Patna Junction where relatives and friends of the victims of Indore-Patna Express train derailment gather to find out about their loved ones.

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Patna: With the number of death casualties rising to 120 in the early Sunday morning Indore-Patna Express train derailment near Kanpur, at least 11 persons are believed to be from Bihar along with hundreds of others who received serious injury in the accident.

According to railway sources, 258 Patna-bound people were traveling in the Indore-Patna Express in the AC and sleeper coaches. It is, however, was not clear how many of them were in fact from Bihar, officials said.

At Patna Junction, the scene resembled that of an army camp waiting to receive its war victims with nurses, doctors, ambulances, wheelchairs, stretchers, and gurneys put in place to treat the arriving passengers who somehow escaped death despite the severity of the tragedy.

With hundreds of concerned family members of the passengers on the ill-fated train jostling to get any information on their loved ones at the Patna Junction, the East Central Railways (ECR) had set up a helpline to assist people in their quest to find their relatives. Arvind Kumar Rajak, the chief Public Relations Officer, said that the numbers to call for enquiry about the survivors or the deceased were 7992388463, 2202290, 2202291, and 2202292. Two separate helplines, 2231968 and 2233259, were also set up by the Patna Government Railway Police (GRP) to deal with the large number of enquiries, officials said.

Patna District Magistrate Sanjay Agrawal, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Manu Maharaj, Danapur DRM R. K. Jha, and Principal Health Secretary R. K. Mahajan were camping at the Patna Junction to assist victims who were to arrive in Patna on a special train.

Relatives of Manoj Kumar of Patna City were waiting to get any information on him, his wife Prem Lata and six other family members, including five children, who had gone to Ujjain on pilgrimage and were returning to Patna on the ill-fated Indore-Patna Express. They all were traveling in the S-1 bogey that is said to have sustained maximum damage in the accident.

"We have no information about their whereabouts. Their names are not listed in any list and their cell phones are not responding," said one of Manoj's relative.

Another victim of today's tragedy was the family of Subodh Kumar who, along with his wife and a daughter, perished in the biggest train disaster in the last many years. Another daughter of him is said to be missing.

Visibly stressed family members of other victims were also seen wandering from one desk to another to find any information on their missing relatives traveling on the same train.

According to unconfirmed reports, while the total capacity of the train was 1200 passengers, it was actually carrying around 1700 passengers, many traveling illegally.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in Patna postponed releasing the annual report of his government and announced an ex gratia payment to the relatives of the deceased from Bihar to the tune of Rs. 2 lakh each. He also announced a compensation of Rs.50,000 to the survivors who have sustained serious injuries.

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