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Guwahati-Puri Express derailment caused by IED blast: Railways

Last updated on: July 11, 2011 16:11 IST

An Improvised Explosive Device blast completely damaged a stretch of the railway track and led to derailment of seven bogies of the Guwahati-Puri Express, injuring over 100 passengers in Assam's rural Kamrup district, a senior Railway official said.

The blast, caused by an IED, completely damaged 200 metres of track and fuse wire and detonators were also found, North East Frontier Railway's Rangiya Divisional Railway Manager A K Manocha told mediapersons.

Manocha said seven bogies of the train carrying 700 passengers derailed with two coaches falling into a pond. Earlier, it was stated that eight coaches had derailed.

The DRM said that 40 passengers were seriously injured and admitted to Guwahati Medical College Hospital. The Railways would make ex-gratia payment to those with both major and minor injuries though the amount was yet to be decided, he said.

A senior police officer earlier said that the blast appeared to be the handiwork of the Ranjan Daimary-led National Democratic Front of Bodoland's anti-talk faction, which is active in the area.

Manocha said that 300 workers were working since last night with the tracks likely to be restored by 8:00 pm on Monday. After repair of the tracks, a recovery van from Bongaigaon would lift the derailed bogies from the tracks.

The total loss incurred by the blast was estimated to be between Rs 75 to Rs 80 lakh, he said. A special train with 800 passengers of the Guwahati-Puri Express left Guwahati for Puri at 5:30 this morning.

The Railways also announced Rs one lakh as compensation for passengers who suffered grievous injuries in the Guwahati-Puri Express derailment in Assam after a blast.

"Those passengers who suffered grievous injuries will receive Rs one lakh in compensation, while those who suffered simple injuries will receive Rs 10,000," a Railway Ministry official said.

Meanwhile, train services on the section have been affected with several trains diverted or cancelled. The trains that have been cancelled were the Manas Rhino Express, Guwahati-Bongaigaon Express, Alipurduar-Kamakhya Intercity Express, Lumding-Alipurduar Express, Siphung Express and New Bongaigaon Passenger.

Meanwhile, even after direction by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit the site of derailment of the Guwahati-Puri Express in Assam, Minister of state for Railways Mukul Roy on Monday remained non-committal.

Asked specifically whether he would go to Assam since the directive was given by the prime minister, Roy told mediapersons, "I have nothing to say. I suggest you contact the general manager of the NF Railway about this."

Northeast Frontier Railway general manager M R Chandra said, "The minister (Roy) has already offered to visit the derailment site near Rangiya. But we told him that the ground reality is such that the situation is almost normal and there is no death except for some injuries."

Chandra told mediapersons that Roy had been told that rescue and relief operations were almost over and the destroyed track would be restored within 16 to 20 hours. The General Manager claimed there were three passengers with grievous injuries, 13 with simple injuries and some with trivial injuries.

"The condition of those with grievous injuries is stable in hospital," Chandra said.

Asked about not visiting the Kalka Mail derailment site at Malwan, Roy replied, "Minister of state for Railways K H Muniyappa is already there to supervise rescue and relief operations. Moreover, the rescue and relief operations are almost over. 54 deaths have been officially reported and one injured person is in critical condition," he said.

The Prime minister is in charge of the Railway Ministry since the former minister Mamata Banerjee became the Chief Minister of West Bengal.

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