At least 34 people were killed and around 50 injured in a head-on collision between two passenger trains in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab on Tuesday.
The collision occurred between the Jammu Tawi Ahmedabad express and Jalandhar-Pathankot Diesel Multiple Unit passenger train at Mansar, around 40 km from Jalandhar, at noon.
Sources said both trains were given the green signal on the single-line Jalandhar-Pathankot section of the Northern Railway. While the local train was cleared from the Bangara railway station, the Ahmedabad-bound express train was given the go ahead from Chak Kalan.
General Manager, Northern Railway, Satish Mohan Vaish, said: "It's obvious that one of the two stations involved goofed up."
Paramjit Singh Saraho, DIG (Jalandhar range), told NDTV India from the spot that 28 bodies were removed from the wreckage. The injured, he said, were admitted to the Civil Hospital in Mukerian and Army Hospital in Pathankot.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, in a statement in the state assembly, put the number of fatalities at 50.
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Drivers of both the trains were among the dead, a spokesman of the Northern Railway said.
Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, who was in Parliament when the accident took place, left for the spot accompanied by senior railway officials in a special train.
Rail services on the Jalandhar-Pathankot section were suspended.
Three coaches of the DMU and one of the express train alongwith the two engines were badly damaged in the collision.
The railways announced an ex-gratia of Rs 100,000 to the next of the kin of those dead and Rs 15,000 each to those grievously injured and Rs 5000 to those with minor injuries.
The residents of nearby villages, including Mirthala and Bangara, were among the first to reach the spot followed by
police and civil officials.
Major accidents since 80s