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Toll rises to 142 in Kanpur train derailment

By The Assam Tribune

Kanpur, Nov 21 (IANS): The death toll in one of the worst rail accidents in the country that took place on Sunday when the Indore-Patna Express rolled off the tracks near Kanpur, rose to 142 on Monday, officials said.

"The death toll has risen to 142 and 59 people are still admitted in the hospital," UP Police Inspector General Zaki Ahmed told IANS.

Over 150 people were injured in the tragedy when 14 coaches of the train ran off the rails near Pukhrayan station, about 60 km from Kanpur city.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday night visited the hospitals where the injured were being treated.

"High-level orders are being given to probe the accident," Prabhu said, adding the Railway Ministry has collaborated with the Uttar Pradesh government to provide all necessary help.

Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha was also there at the accident site.

He ordered officials to increase the pace of relief operations and better treatment to the injured.

"Strict actions will be taken against those responsible for the disaster," Sinha added.

While the cause of the derailment is yet to be ascertained, Sinha had earlier said that the accident could have been caused due to rail fracture.

The worst hit were the sleeper coaches S1, S2, S3 and S4.

This was the worst train accident in the country after the May 2010 disaster in West Bengal involving Gyaneshwari Express in which some 170 people were killed.

Forensic probe ordered:Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said in the Lok Sabha that a "forensic probe" has been ordered in the Kanpur rail tragedy.

"There shall be separate comprehensive investigation aided by latest technical and forensic analysis by an appropriate agency to look into all possible angles," Prabhu said.

The Railways Minister said that strictest action would be taken against those responsible.

The Railways minister also said that old-technology ICF coaches already in operation lack the crash worthy characteristics of modern coaches.

"I had informed this House during the previous Railway budget to progressively replace and phase out such coaches, this will be expedited," Prabhu added.

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