Anxious kin wait in Mumbai for news on train passengers

Mumbai, May 28 (IANS) Chaos reigned at the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in Bandra-Kurla, central Mumbai, where the Mumbai-bound Gyaneshwari Express was scheduled to arrive late Friday evening. The train derailed in Jhargram in West Bengal, killing at least 76 people.

There were unconfirmed reports of at least a dozen dead from Mumbai, Thane and other parts of Maharashtra in the accident.

As the news of the train accident spread, hundreds of anxious relatives of the passengers thronged the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus.

Young Saurav Dutta was trying to contact his father Kalyan Dutta on the train. Saurav did not find his father’s name in the first list of 46 injured and even the second list of 60 injured. Fearing the worst, he pleaded with the Central Railway (CR) authorities to inform him of any news about his father.

Another anxious relative, Jaykumar Gupta, reached the station for information on his sister’s mother-in-law and her son Harish.

After waiting for nearly 12 hours, he learnt that they were both among the dead and he rushed to catch a flight to Kolkata.

He found that no seats were available and some private airlines were reportedly charging Rs.22,000 for a one-way ticket. ‘How can we afford this? The railways should at least make arrangements for the relatives to travel to the accident site,’ he told mediapersons with tears in his eyes.

Later Friday evening, the railway authorities started issuing free passes to many of the relatives to enable them travel to the accident site.

The CR also announced the rescheduling and route diversions of some trains.

The CR officials have declined to confirm any casualties.

‘We do not have any confirmed information and we cannot comment on unconfirmed reports, give us a day and we shall inform the media,’ a harried senior official told IANS here.