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Train disaster toll goes up to 145; tracks restored
Jhargram (West Bengal), May 30 (IANS):
Published on 30 May. 2010 11:22 PM IST
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The toll in West Bengal’s train tragedy rose to 145 Sunday as the wreckage was cleared from the accident spot and train services resumed on the route.
While 142 bodies were extricated from the mangled coaches of the Gyaneshwari Express, three of the injured succumbed at the hospital, a South Eastern Railway spokesman said. Rescue workers had recovered 138 corpses by late Saturday, before they stumbled upon four more body parts in the worst affected S-5 coach, a railway source said.
However, state police chief Bhupinder Singh put the toll at 151. The number of the injured now stands at 143, of whom 35 are in serious condition, according to officials. With all the coaches, which had derailed Friday, removed from the track, the railway workers toiled through the night to repair the lines. Train services were restored on the down line at 3.45 a.m., 50 hours after Friday’s train disaster.
“A goods train, the first to pass through the area since the disaster, crossed the down line at 3.45 a.m. The services on the up line wsere restored later in the day,” the railway source said. The freight train passed the stretch, about 155 km from Kolkata, at a slow speed.
Meanwhile, a putrid smell of decaying bodies at the Midnapore Medical College Hospital - where these have been kept - forced relatives of the victims to move around with their faces covered as they frantically searched for their close ones. The wounded were under treatment in hospitals in the nearest towns of Kharagpur and Midnapore - the headquarters of the West Midnapore district. Twenty-three of them are admitted in various hospitals in Kolkata.
With many of the bodies mutilated beyond recognition, the authorities have decided to conduct DNA tests for identification before handing these over to their relatives.
The passenger train went off the track between Sardiha and Khemasuli railway stations, after suspected Maoists removed 1.5 feet of rail track, at 1.30 a.m. Friday, rudely shaking the hundreds of sleeping passengers. Five coaches fell on a parallel track. Even before the trapped passengers could realise what had happened, a speeding goods train coming from the opposite direction rammed into the five coaches, crushing some of them.
Police found two posters put out by the Maoist-backed People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities at the accident site, claiming responsibility for the sabotage.
It was the third worst train accident this year blamed on Maoist guerrillas and the worst bout of killings by the rebels since they massacred 76 security personnel in Chhattisgarh April 6.

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