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School van rams into train, 13 children killed; UP CM rushes to spot

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KUSHINAHAR: A school van rammed into a train killing thirteen people and seriously injuring seven others in Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh. The mishap took place at around 6:45-7 am when Thawe-Kapatanganj passenger train (55075) was passing the railway crossing. There were at least 25 people, mostly children in the van.

As per witnesses, all those killed in the crash are aged under 10. Many of those injured could not even be taken to the hospital and succumbed to their injuries on the spot.

Eyewitnesses are blaming it on the administration as the incident took place on an unmanned railway crossing. The death toll is likely to rise. As per initial reports, the bus belonged to Divine public school in Kushinagar.

 

Giving details of the incident, police said that the injured have been taken to the hospital. “There were nearly 25 school kids in the van. The children were on their way to their school when the incident took place. The incident took place near a rail crossing. The injured have been taken to the hospital. Many residents of the area had gathered when the incident took place,” Additional SP Hari Govind said.

He also added that the railway crossing gates are not closed when the train passes. Some are saying that the railway official who used to give the green signal to the trains did not turn up for work on Thursday. The Railways is, however, maintaining that its employee tried to stop the train but the incident could not be averted. “It was unmanned level crossing gate at Behpurva, with Gate Mitra deployed there. He tried to stop but the unfortunate incident happened at unmanned gate 45 near Dudhi station in Banaras division,” spokesperson for Railways Ved Prakash said.

Along with children, the driver has also been killed in the accident. It is being reported that the train usually passes this unmanned crossing at around 6 am but was running late on Thursday morning and crossed at around 6:45 am.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath condoled the death of the children and announced an ex-gratia of Rs two lakh each to the deceased’s family. He has also ordered an immediate inquiry into the matter by the Gorakhpur commissioner. He has directed the district administration to provide all possible help and medical aid to the victims. The UP CM is rushing to Kushinagar for on-the-spot assessment of accident site.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled the death of the children. “I am extremely saddened on hearing about the death of school students in a collision between a school van and a train in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar. The UP government and the Railway Department will take appropriate action,” he said.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the kin of the deceased. “I received the unfortunate news of the death of school children. I have asked senior officials to conduct a probe into the incident. Railways will give a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the kin of the dead over and above the aid announced by the Uttar Pradesh government,” he said in a tweet. An accident relief medical train from Gorakhpur has been dispatched to the site.
An accident relief medical train from Gorakhpur has been dispatched to the site.


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National

Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs

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Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.

“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.

This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.

 

According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.

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Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara

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Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.

The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.

“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.

 
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Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.

With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.

Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.

 

Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.

However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.

The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.

The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.

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