In­dia train dis­as­ter toll rises to 146

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

NEW DELHI: In­dian res­cuers yes­ter­day called off a search of the man­gled car­riages of a de­railed train af­ter pulling more bod­ies from the wreck­age, tak­ing to at least 146 the num­ber of pas­sen­gers killed in the dis­as­ter.

Sun­day’s de­rail­ment in the north­ern state of Ut­tar Pradesh was In­dia’s dead­li­est train tragedy since 2010 and has re­newed con­cern about poor safety on the state-run net­work.

A life­line for mil­lions, the rail­ways suf­fer from chronic un­der­in­vest­ment, which has left it with age­ing tracks and out­dated rolling stock.

Res­cue teams worked through the night with cranes and cut­ters to dis­en­tan­gle the train be­fore po­lice halted the search of the 14 car­riages that de­railed in the early hours while most pas­sen­gers slept.

“The res­cue op­er­a­tions are over. We don’t ex­pect to find any more bod­ies,” said Zaki Ahmed, the po­lice in­spec­tor gen­eral in the city of Kan­pur, about 65km from Pukhrayan, the crash site.

All of the car­riages, some crum­pled beyond recog­ni­tion, have since been re­moved from the tracks.

The crash came dur­ing In­dia’s busy wed­ding sea­son and media said blood­stained bags of saris and wed­ding cards car­ried by at least one wed­ding party on board were scat­tered be­side the wreck­age.

The de­rail­ment in­jured close to 200 peo­ple, scores of them se­ri­ously, of­fi­cials said. Af­ter the tragedy, rel­a­tives thronged hospi­tals in a search for sur­vivors.

A rail­ways spokesman said the train car­ried 1,000 peo­ple trav­el­ling on reser­va­tions, but 700 more were es­ti­mated to have squeezed into the un­re­served car­riages. The largely colo­nial-era rail­way sys­tem, the world’s fourth largest, car­ries a sat­u­ra­tion-level to­tal of about 23 mil­lion peo­ple daily.

The crash is a stark re­minder of the ob­sta­cles fac­ing Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi in de­liv­er­ing on his prom­ise to turn the rail­ways into a more ef­fi­cient, safer net­work be­fit­ting In­dia’s eco­nomic power. – Reuters

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