Lucknow/New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) At least 10 schoolchildren were killed and nine others injured on Monday after a train hit their school van at an unmanned level crossing in Uttar Pradesh’s Bhadohi district, police said.
The accident occurred at Kairmau on the Varanasi-Allahabad rail section, an official told IANS.
According to preliminary report, the accident took place due to van driver’s negligence.
In the evening, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu announced Rs 2 lakh each to the kin of the deceased and Rs 1 lakh each to the families of the injured students.
The nine injured students were admitted to a nearby medical facility for treatment, where the condition of two is said to be serious. The vehicle belonged to the Tender Heart School.
“The injured have been admitted in the nearby hospital. The railway doctors are assisting the local doctors in their treatment. Varanasi Divisional Railway Manager also visited the hospital to ask after the injured,” a Railway Ministry statement said.
“A committee of railway officers of the Varanasi division has been constituted to probe the accident,” the statement added.
Railway officials found in their preliminary inquiry that though cautioned about an approaching train, the van driver ignored it and drove ahead.
The Railways has been conducting awareness campaigns through street plays, leaflets in areas around unmanned level crossings, advertisements and special lectures in educational institutions etc. to prevent such accidents.
In this year’s Railway Budget, the government announced an action plan to eliminate all 6,352 broad-gauge unmanned level crossings in three to four years.
The Railways has also decided that new rail lines will be free of unmanned level crossings.