Lucknow, July 7 (IANS): At least 38 people were killed and about 30 injured when an express train collided with a bus at an unmanned crossing in Uttar Pradesh's Kanshiram Nagar district early today, officials said.
The accident took place around 2 am at an unmanned railway crossing in Thanagaon, about 250 km from here, when the Chhapra Mathura express train rammed into the bus carrying members of a wedding party on their way back home to Etah, Government Railway Police inspector Dalveer Singh told IANS.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal to proceed to the accident site and asked "the commissioner of railway safety to hold an enquiry".
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) announced ex-gratia relief of Rs 2 lakh each for the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each for seriously injured and Rs 10,000 each for simple injuries.
"While the death toll is now 38, around 30 people are still being treated in hospitals and community health centres," Kanshiram Nagar District Magistrate Selva Kumari J. told IANS.
"Most of the passengers in the bus were natives of Etah district. In order to gather more information about the victims, we are in contact with officials in Etah. A team of railway doctors is also assisting the local medical staff in treating the injured," she added.
Some railway officials from Bareilly division blamed the bus driver for the incident.
"I have ordered a separate probe at my level into the accident. As of now we cannot tell what exactly led to the incident or who was at fault. It is yet to be ascertained whether the bus driver too got killed or fled after the accident," Selva Kumar responded.
According to Kanshiram Nagar Chief Medical Officer (CMO) RC Pandey, four of the critically injured had been shifted to Agra for further treatment.
The state government has announced compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the family of those killed and Rs 50,000 to those grievously injured. Those with minor injuries would be given Rs 25,000, officials said.
The rail tracks that were affected following the accident have been repaired. "The route has now been cleared. We have been told that the engine of the train hit the rear portion of the bus," said an official.
There were around 80 passengers in the bus at the time of the accident.