January 22, 2017 5:15:23 pm
Expressing grief over the loss of lives in the Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express derailment, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday said that the incident will be probed and guilty will be punished. Prabhu also met the families of those who died in the accident and announced ex gratia payment. “The cause of the accident will be probed. It is an unfortunate incident. Stringent action will be taken against those found responsible,” Prabhu told reporters after meeting the injured passengers from the train at Rayagada district headquarters hospital.
“Those responsible for the derailment will not be spared …Stringent action will be taken against those who played with the lives of so many people,” he said.
At least 39 people were killed and over 60 injured as the engine and nine coaches of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express jumped the tracks in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district overnight with the railways suspecting sabotage behind the derailment, the third in as many months. The Odisha Police, however, ruled out the involvement of Maoists in the derailment.
WATCH VIDEO | Hirakhand Train Derailment: Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu Assures Stern Action
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“There is no evidence regarding the involvement of Maoists. We will inquire into the matter and Railway Safety Commissioner will also probe the matter,” Director General of Police K.B. Singh told the media.
Two AC coaches, four Sleeper coaches, two General Compartments and the guard-cum-passenger coach besides the locomotive of the train derailed.
According to railways, prima facie there was rail fracture which caused the derailment. But it has to be ascertained through whether the fracture was due to sabotage or because of negligence and lack of maintenance.
“The real cause will be known only after inquiry by the Commissioner Railway Safety,” Railway spokesperson Anil Saxena said.
However, he said, “There are indications of foul play as a goods train passed the same track just two hours before the mishap. The inspection by the patrol team also found the track okay yesterday.” “The driver applied emergency brake after feeling a big jerk and heard a loud sound. The area is Naxal prone and the incident happened just ahead of Republic Day,” Saxena said.
Railway helpline numbers
Vizianagaram: 83331, 83332, 83333, 83334, 08922-221202, 08922-221206Visakhapatnam: 83003, 83005, 83006, 0891-2746344, 0891-2746330, 08500358610, 08500358712
Rayagada: 06856-223400, 06856-223500, 09439741181, 09439741071, 07681878777 Khurda: 0674 2490670
Bhubaneswar station: 06742543360
Behrampur station: 06802229632
(With inputs from PTI)
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