The minister, Mr Nitish Kumar made the announcement as more bodies were brought out of the wreckage of the Brahmputra Mail train and the Awadh-Assam Express. He said that he accepted "moral reponsibility" for the accident.
He faxed his resignation from the crash scene to the Prime Minister. In a statement, he told reporters "I thought that I should resign, own moral responsibility," and added "There is no politics in it. I told the prime minister that I am shocked beyond words and I should not remain in office."
The Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said that Mr Kumar should take time to consider his decision.
The accident is one of the worst in India's history. The death toll has reached 298 according to a bulletin issued by UPI this morning. The number of injured is around 800, many serious. It is believed that the final figure could approach 400 as rescue work continues.
Yesterday, the Secretary General of the UN Mr Kofi Annan expressed his shock at the accident saying in a statement that he "deeply regrets the heavy loss of life and shares the grief of the many afflicted families". In a statement from the Whitehouse, US President, Bill Clinton expressed his condolences:
President Clinton Extends Condolences to Victims of Indian Train Crash. On behalf of all Americans, the President and the First Lady offer their deepest condolences to the people of India on the tragic train crash in northeast India today. The President and Mrs. Clinton extend their sympathy to the relatives of those killed in this crash, as well as to those injured.An investigation into the cause of the accident has begun.
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This file last updated: Saturday, 04-Sep-1999 08:56:05 EDT
Copyright © David Fry 1999