Minister of Railways on inspection of a train wreck


Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw visited West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district on Friday, where the Bikaner-Guwahati Express encountered an accident a day ago, and said preliminary reports suggested there had “a problem” with the locomotive equipment.

At least nine people were killed and 36 injured after 12 express train carriages derailed on Thursday, some of which overturned or were found riding on top of each other, near Domohani on the Alipurduar subdivision of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR).

Vaishnaw said the real reason for the accident would only be determined after the engine equipment was dismantled. The Minister also visited injured passengers in hospital.

“Preliminary findings suggest there was a problem with the locomotive equipment, not the speed limits or the tracks. What the problem was will only be discovered after the equipment is dismantled. There will be marks on the equipment. Only after studying these marks can the reason for the accident be determined,” he told reporters after inspecting the crash site.

An investigation into the unfortunate incident is ongoing, he said.

“The root cause (behind the accident) will soon be revealed. The Rail Safety Commission is investigating. We pray for the deceased souls and wish a speedy recovery to the injured. Talks are ongoing with the families regarding the distribution of the ex gratia,” he added.

Later, after meeting the injured in hospital, the Union Minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was constantly monitoring the situation. “I am in constant contact with the Prime Minister and I regularly update him on the situation,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Guneet Kaur, the public relations manager of the NFR, told Guwahati that Vaishnaw arrived at Domohani station at 9:38 a.m. and immediately drove to the crash site on a motor cart.

“The Minister inspected the site to check the condition of the track and fittings. He also checked the locomotive frame and its braking system,” she said. She confirmed the death toll had risen to nine, with three of those who died not yet identified and the number of injured at 36.

While 23 passengers are undergoing treatment at a super specialty hospital in Jalpaiguri, six have been admitted to North Bengal Medical College and seven to Maynaguri Rural Hospital, CPRO said.

“A board of inquiry has been formed to find out what caused the derailment,” Kaur told PTI. She also said ex-gratias to the injured were paid within hours of the accident.

The railways announced Rs 5 lakh gratuitous for relatives of those killed in the accident, Rs 1 lakh for seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for passengers with simple injuries. Kaur said authorities are trying to get in touch with family members of the deceased for compensation payments.

The NFR official also said the evacuation of people from the mangled coaches was completed on Thursday evening and a special train left the crash site for Guwahati at 9.50pm with 290 passengers on board.

The train reached Guwahati station at 7:55 a.m. on Friday and food arrangements were made for passengers, Kaur said. There were 1,053 passengers on board the express train at the time of the derailment.

NFR chief executive Anshul Gupta, who reached the derailment site at 12:08 a.m. on Friday, is overseeing track restoration work to resume normal train operation.

He visited various hospitals Thursday evening and early Friday to check on injured patients, Kaur said.

“Restoration work is being undertaken on a war footing under the supervision of the general manager. Some of the derailed cars have already been re-railed,” she explained.

At least 10 trains, mostly intercity and DEMU trains, were canceled on the affected route on Friday, while a few were short-term or short-term. Ten other long-distance trains were diverted to alternative routes, CPRO added.

Meanwhile, Congress leader in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, said the accident was the result of “poor maintenance” of tracks and locomotives, with the BJP government more interested in privatizing railroads. iron.

“The Center cares least about providing proper passenger services. It is because of poor maintenance of tracks and locomotives that such accidents occur. The BJP is only interested in privatizing the railways,” said Chowdhury, who was MoS Railways under the UPA-II regime.


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