Swapan and his young daughter realised that a mud slide caused by incessant rains had washed away a segment of train tracks!
Open any news website, and you will inevitably read a story about a rail accident in some corner of India. Little surprise that when a major train accident is averted, it makes the news. More so when the people averting a major rail disaster are a poverty-stricken father and his child.
On June 15, Swapan Debbarma and his daughter, Somati, who belong to the Dhanchara village in northern Tripura, averted a train accident, saving the lives of over 2,000 passengers, according to IANS.
Swapan and his daughter were climbing down from Atharamura hill in Dhalai district when they saw a passenger train approaching a point where there were no railway tracks. The train was moving from Agartala towards Dharmanagar, reports UNI.
Reports indicate that heavy rains and massive landslides had dislocated the train tracks. Realising the danger ahead, Swapan jumped onto the tracks, took off his shirt and waved it vigorously hoping that the train driver would notice him. Somati also joined her father in his efforts.
It worked. “If we had not spotted the signal and stopped the train, it could have met with a severe accident,” Sonu Kumar Mandal, the driver of the train, had told media persons.
According to Sudip Roy Barman, the Tripura Health and Science and Technology Minister, Swapan and Somati come from a tribal family of six, and try and make ends meet by selling forest produce, primarily firewood and bamboo, at the local market.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Biplab Deb told the Tripura Assembly that his government would recommend the duo to the central Ministry of Railways for financial assistance and reward. Th Northeast Frontier Railway has also promised to reward Swapan.
In a similar incident earlier this year, the railways rewarded a farmer for stopping a goods train before it could move over a fractured track in Assam. The hero of the moment won Rs 5,000 for his efforts.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)