Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani on Thursday said that the railway is aiming to eliminate unmanned level crossings by March 2020.
Lohani’s reaction came after 13 school students died in the Kushinagar train-school van accident in an unmanned crossing.
Addressing a presser, Lohani said, “According to latest reports, 13 school students have died in collision between a school van and train in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar. We are trying to eliminate unmanned level crossings.”
“The railway board chairman also said that a total of 109 accidents have taken place at unmanned level crossings in the country since 2014-15 and asserted that railways aim to eliminate unmanned level crossings by March 2020,” he added.
He further said that this is the first accident at an unmanned level crossing this year.
“There was a rail mitra (rail volunteer) at the spot, who tried to stop the school van, but the driver did not stop. This is the first accident at an unmanned level crossing this year,” he added.
Lohani further said there are currently 3,479 unmanned level crossings on broad gauge of Indian Railways.
Earlier in the day, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had declared an ex-gratia of Rs two lakh to the kin of the deceased.
The Chief Minister had also directed the district administration to provide all possible help and medical aid to the injured children.
A total of 20 students were travelling in the vehicle. The remaining, who suffered injuries were immediately shifted to the nearby hospital for further treatment.