Rescue work hampered due to railways’ non-cooperation: minister

Jhargram (West Bengal), May 29 (IANS) The West Bengal government Saturday claimed that rescue operations at the site of the ghastly train accident had suffered due to lack of coordination with the railways ministry.

‘The field work has suffered due to lack of cooperation. We have not got a list of the dead from the railways, despite repeated requests,’ said Civil Defence Minister Srikumar Mukherjee at the accident site near this town in West Midnapore district.

Mukherjee said he had a meeting with senior South Eastern Railway officials Saturday morning. ‘They have promised to hand over the list of the dead.’

The state’s Left front government has its fiercest foe in Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who is also the railway minister.

The Mumbai-bound Gyaneshwari Super Deluxe Express went off the tracks between Sardiha and Khemasuli railway stations here early Friday after suspected Maoists removed a piece of the track. Five coaches fell on a parallel track. Before the trapped passengers could realise what had happened, a speeding goods train coming from the opposite direction rammed into the five coaches, crushing some of them. At lease 98 people were killed in the accident.