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INDIA: 32 die in Electrical Fire on Train

HYDERABAD, INDIA:   Thirty-two people were killed yesterday when fire ripped through a coach of an overnight express train carrying sleeping passengers from New Delhi to the southern city of Chennai.  An electrical short circuit was thought to be the most likely cause of the tragedy on the long-distance service, which happened in the early hours of the morning near the town of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh state.

Dozens of rescuers and survivors, together with a crowd of onlookers, watched as the blackened and twisted bodies of victims, some burnt beyond recognition, were carried out of the train and laid in rows alongside the railway line.  Relatives of the victims wailed and screamed, while dazed survivors sat quietly.  “I woke up when people were rushing into our compartment,” said a passenger called Shantanu. “I was in S-10, which was attached to the S-11 coach that caught fire. There was smoke all around. We tried to open the emergency window. People jumped out of it.” The central government’s press office said that 32 people had lost their lives and 25 were injured. It added that families of the deceased would be offered 500,000 rupees (Dh33,000) compensation.

Nellore’s chief district official, B Sreedhar, said that preliminary investigations suggested a short circuit near a toilet had started the electrical fire.  The railway minister, Mukul Roy, said an investigation was underway. “Nothing can be excluded and nothing can be said without an investigation,” he added, shortly before rescuers completed their search for bodies, which had lasted almost 12 hours.  The train was travelling at 110 kilometres per hour when it went through Nellore station, where staff noticed the fire and informed railway authorities. The burning carriage was quickly detached from the rest of the train which prevented the fire spreading.

The prime minister, Manmohan Singh, sent his condolences and has asked the national railways ministry to coordinate the relief effort, his office said.  India’s accident-prone rail network remains the country’s main form of long-distance travel, despite fierce competition from airlines. While new airport infrastructure is appearing, Indian railways – a much-romanticised legacy of British colonial rule – often appear stuck in a time-warp.  There were two fatal accidents in May this year alone. A collision killed 25 people near the southern city of Bangalore andf our people died when a train derailed in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

In March, Dinesh Trivedi, the railway minister, unveiled a draft budget for 2012-13 that included a major safety upgrade financed by across-the-board fare hikes. He was forced to withdraw it and resign after a rebellion by his own party, the Trinamool Congress, which objected to increasing ticket prices for the poorest travellers. Figures from the National Crime Records Bureau, which gathers the causes of fatalities across India, reveal that in 2009, 25,705 people died on the railways. The vast majority involved people falling from the open doors of carriages or being hit on the tracks.  India’s worst rail accident was in 1981 when a train plunged into a river in the eastern state of Bihar, killing an estimated 800 people.

Story via The National

BSES Worker Electrocuted in India

January 22, 2011 Leave a comment
NEW DELHI, INDIA –  A 32-year-old daily wager working for power discom BSES was electrocuted while carrying out repair work on an electric pole in Vidya Vihar on Hastsal Road in west Delhi on Thursday morning. The deceased, Suresh was a resident of Sai Enclave in Mohan Garden.

“When Suresh was mending some electrical fault he came in contact with a high tension wire. He was rushed to Mata Chanan Devi Hospital, where he was declared brought dead,” said a police officer.

In another incident, three persons suffered an electric shock in Ranhola in west Delhi. They are admitted in Safdarjung hospital and are stable.

Story via TimesofIndia.com

Downed Electrical Wire Falls in Pool of Water – Kills 2 in India

November 18, 2010 Leave a comment

NEW DELHI, INDIA – Two persons died when an electric wire fell on the ground while it was raining in outer Delhi. The incident took place around 3pm on Wednesday when a tea shop owner and his son were at their shop in Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar. The deceased have been identified as Shambunath and Suhail Gupta.

“The wires were naked and it had been raining very heavily. Water had accumulated in the ground and the wire touched the rainwater, which electrocuted the two victims. They were declared brought dead in the hospital. We have registered a case of death due to negligence but are yet to ascertain on whose part the negligence was.

Investigation will reveal whether the rain had caused the wires to snap or they were already cut,” said a senior police officer.

According to power discom NDPL — the electricity supplier for the area — it was an accident caused by the forces of nature. “There was a temporary connection in the area for which there were some overhead wires. When it became windy all of a sudden, some tin sheets from the roof of a dhaba located close by fell off and snapped the electrical wires. One of the snapped wires fell in a pool of accumulated water on the road, where two persons were standing that led to electrocution,” said an NDPL spokesperson.

The discom said they immediately snapped power supply when the incident took place and denied any negligence on their part. “It was an accident caused by a freak of nature and couldn’t have been avoided. The wire suddenly snapped and fell into a waterlogged road, and it was very unfortunate that there were people standing there when it happened,” said an official.

Story via Times of India