Member (Engineering) in the Railway Board, Northern Railway General Manager and Divisional Regional Manager (Delhi) have been sent on leave.
At least 13 persons died and more than 20 were injured, some critically, when 10 coaches of the Haridwar-bound Kalinga Utkal Express derailed at Khatauli, 24 km from Muzaffarnagar in western Uttar Pradesh on Saturday evening.
Engineering division of Railways had reportedly warned the Khatauli railway station authorities about the ongoing fix work on the tracks. According to reports, the train was scheduled to travel to Bihar's Kishanganj, carrying soil for the flood-affected region.
"A total of 156 people were injured in the Utkal Express train accident and among them many remain critical", Awanish Kumar Awasthi, Principal Secretary (Information), UP government, told PTI on the phone. ANI reported that a first National Disaster Response Force team with 44 rescuers & two search dogs has been despatched to the site. He further said, "We watch trains pass everyday but what happened today..."
He said the railways has instituted an enquiry to be conducted by the Commissioner, Railway Safety, Northern Circle.
Curious onlookers gathered at the accident site this morning, as two coaches were hauled off the track and placed on the ground. "He will also find out whether laid down rules were followed", he added. He also confirmed that 14 coaches had derailed, after initial reports had suggested a number in the vicinity of six to eight coaches. "Strong measures should be taken for ensuring railway security", he added.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath enquired about the accident and directed officials to take all possible action.
Explaining the procedure for maintenance followed by the railways, Jamshed wondered if it was followed in this case. The question, however, is whether we need these speeds when we can't provide basic safety in the infrastructure of rail lines and communications systems that are ageing. Expressing her deep concern on the growing number of train accidents and railway safety, she urged the Railways and State Government authorities to take adequate and immediate relief and rescue measures.
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