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Rescue operation over, focus on restoration now, says Railway Minister after visiting train accident site

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New Delhi, June 17:  Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw rushed to the train mishap spot in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district on Monday, hours after a goods train hit the Silchar-Kolkata Kanchanjunga Express, killing at least nine persons.

After reaching the accident site close to the Rangapani railway station near New Jalpaiguri, the Union Minister took stock of the situation and told reporters that a thorough probe would be conducted to find out the reasons behind the lapses.

“The rescue operation is complete. Now the entire focus is on the restoration of the rail route,” he said while informing about the importance of this route which is in the Chicken’s Neck corridor that connects the Northeast with the rest of the country.

Notably, the rail traffic suffered disruption after the accident, forcing the diversion of several long-distance Express trains on this route.

The Union Minister said that restoration of the route is the top priority now and a report from the Commissioner of Railway Safety was awaited, which may give some insights into the reasons behind the accident.

On West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s statement on the train mishap, Minister Vaishnaw said that this is not the time for politics.

Earlier, Ashwini Vaishnaw took a bike ride after landing in Bagdogra to reach the accident site, the visuals of which grabbed many eyeballs on social media.

The incident happened at around 9 a.m. on Monday when the goods train reportedly overshot the signal and hit the Kanchanjunga Express from behind.

The Kanchanjunga Express is a daily train that connects Bengal with the Northeastern cities of Silchar and Agartala.

Meanwhile, the Centre has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh each for the families of those killed in the accident, while Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 50,000 were announced for those with grievous and minor injuries, respectively.

–IANS

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