Kamlesh Rehan heaved a sigh of relief when she learnt that her bhaiya R L Ghai and her sister-in-law Indu Ghai, who were travelling by the 2301 Up Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, which derailed on Monday night near Rafiganj station between Gaya and Dehri-on-Sone, were safe in Aurangabad district hospital in Bihar.
Speaking to rediff.com at the New Delhi railway station, Kamlesh said she had learned through her relatives that her brother and sister-in-law had sustained minor injuries.
Another passenger's relative, Kishen Kumar Gupta, was able to locate his brother-in-law Srinivas Goel in the Aurangabad hospital, but his nephew Ajay Kumar Garg, who was also travelling by the ill-fated train, had not yet been traced.
Gupta was angry with the New Delhi railway station management and cursed them for their inability to help the relatives of the passengers travelling on the train. "Thanks to the cell phones we have been able to trace our relatives alive. Now I'm rushing to Aurangabad to find out about the missing relatives," he said.
The Northern Railway had opened a special counter comprising eight officers to give information to the harassed relatives.
The counter was opened at 0130am. According to K K Lawani, public grievances officer, 476 passengers were travelling in the train when the accident took place. Reports suggested that the death toll could reach 150.
Another passenger, Narendra Shukla, resident of Punjabi Bagh in west Delhi, said he had no news of his brother Parminder. "I have been sitting outside the public grievances office and they have not been able to tell me whether my brother was actually on the train or not. This speaks volumes for their so-called prompt service for the harassed relatives."
A special train carrying relatives of the passengers left New Delhi station at 0915 IST. Barely 50 relatives were on board.
The train would reach Mughalsarai in around 10 hours. According to a ticket collector travelling by the train, it would pick up some passengers from Kanpur.
Ajay Singh of Bhiwani, Haryana, was one of the passengers travelling by the special train. He said, "I had come to receive Dr Dippy. She was scheduled to have her short service commission interview at army headquarters on the 12th. She had flown from Aizawl in Mizoram to Calcutta yesterday morning [Monday] and thereafter she got into the Rajdhani to come down to Delhi. She was in coach AS-7. So far, we have no news about her."
One Rammohan Maharaj told rediff.com that he was rushing to the site to find out the well being of his shishya Sarvani Bhattacharya and her mother Alpana. Sarvani was to take part in a cultural show on September 25 at Lucknow and 26th and 27th at Jaipur. "She has been learning Kathak from me for the last five-and-a-half years," he said. "I have informed her father and he will be leaving for the spot from Calcutta."
Kailash Kaur of Tilak Nagar arrived at the station only to find the special train leaving the platform. She broke down because being old, she could not board it. Her daughter Gurleen Kaur and son-in-law Harjinder Singh were travelling by the Rajdhani. They had travelled from Bangkok to Calcutta a couple of days back and boarded the train at Howrah. She had no clue whether her daughter and son-in-law were safe and sound.
Platform #1 of the station was full of reporters and harassed onlookers. Television channels had made arrangements to cover the departure of the special train. Noticeably, not even a single important official of the Ministry of Railways or the railway board was present when the train left.
Another special train was likely to leave Delhi at 1100 hours.
The chief Public Relations Officer of Northern Railway, Devinder Singh Sandhu, said 60 people were being hospitalised and two bogies, which were hanging from the bridge, were being restored.
He said it was a clear case of sabotage, as Mughalsarai officials had confirmed that the accident had taken place because of removal of fish plates on the railway track near the site.
According to him, 50 doctors and 200 paramedics had been working since 0300 hours and attending to the injured at the accident site.
He said that the special cell opened in Delhi would be kept in operation as long as possible.
The railways have set up helplines for information on passengers. The numbers are:
Mughalsarai -- 05412-53255
Dhanbad -- 0326-205335
Kolkata -- 033-6605430
New Delhi -- 011-3344128
Old Delhi -- 011-3967332
Nizamuddin -- 011-4359748
Kanpur -- 0512-322223
Allahabad -- 0532-603954
Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express derails; 150 feared killed
Railway Board chairman suspects sabotage
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