The accident occurred around 2.20 am at a level crossing at Madakasira in Penukonda mandal of Anantapur district. (Photo: Twitter)
Bellary: Veteran Congress leader and MLA of Devadurga constituency, A Venkatesh Naik, 79, died in a rail accident near Penugonda in Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh, at about 2.30 am on Monday.
According to Mr AVRK Sainath, senior public relations officer, SWR, Hubli, the accident occurred when Bangalore-Nanded Express in which Mr. Naik was travelling was rammed by a granite-laden truck at a manned level crossing near Madakashira village between Rangepalli and Penugonda stations in Anantapur district, leading to the derailment of four coaches and killing five people, including Mr. Naik. He is survived by his wife, two sons and three daughters.
Read: Senior congress leader and Devadurga MLA Venkatesh Naik dies in rail accident
"The loaded lorry had directly hit the AC coach (H1) of the train after breaking the closed manned level crossing gate, overlooking all safety warnings," said Mr Sainath.
On safety measures taken by the rail authorities, Mr Sainath told that the level crossing gate was closed to facilitate safe passage of the Bengaluru City-Nanded Express. "The driver of the lorry did not heed any of the warning, though red flasher light showing danger was on and continuously siren/hooter was sounding to warn the road users. Besides, there are speed breakers before the manned level crossing Gate and area was well lit," he added.
Read: South Central, South Western Railway trains diverted: Railway PRO
He said that total four coaches, B1 (3-tier AC Coach), H1 (First Class AC coach), S1 & S2 (Second class Sleeper coaches) derailed. The accident left five dead, out of which three were passengers, one a railway staff (AC Mechanic) and a lorry driver. Three persons received injuries and were taken by ambulance to the government hospital at Penukonda for treatment.
On receipt of the accident information, Mr Sanjiv Agarwal, Divisional Railway Manager, Bangalore Division and his team of branch officers of Bangalore Division rushed to the spot. Medical Relief Vans and Accident Relief Trains from Bangalore and Guntakal reached the derailment spot for the rescue operations and restoration work. Mr P.K. Saxena, General Manager, South Western Railway and Senior railway officials from Headquarters of SWR, Hubli also rushed to the spot to oversee the rescue operations. Around 20 buses have been arranged for the stranded passengers to reach their respective destinations.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said it was an unfortunate incident and conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims. He said ex-gratia will be given to the affected.
Read: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu says ex gratia will be given to injured and kin of dead
Andhra Pradesh Information Minister P Raghunath Reddy, who hails from Anantapur district, told reporters that postmortem has been conducted on the bodies at the Penukonda Hospital in the district. He said the cause of the accident, as to whether the brakes of the vehicle failed or its driver was drunk or he fell asleep, would be ascertained in the investigation. He also sought an ex-gratia of more than Rs 10 lakh to the families of the victims.
Recalling that train accidents occurred in Anantapur district in the past as well, Reddy said that the state government would write to the Centre for taking appropriate measures to prevent occurrence of such tragedies in future, especially at railway crossings.
Read: Inquiry ordered into Bangalore-Nanded train mishap
Here are the helpline numbers:
A) On South Western Railway
Bangalore City Railway Station: 080 22354108, 09731666751, 080 22156553; Bangalore Cantonment: 080 2333 9163; Railway: 58885; Hindupur Station: 08556220444; Penukonda Station: 0855220244
Accident spot: 09701374062, 09493548005, 09448090399, 00873-763945549.
B) On South Central Railway:
Anantapur :- 09100992941, 09676903449; 08554-236444; Dharmavaram: 08559-222555; Guntakal:- 09676903466; Yadgir: 078999300084; 08473250365; Tandur: 08411-272010; Vikarabad:- 08416-252013; Bidar: 08482-226329; Parli: 02446-222008; Nanded: 09730471077