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36 dead in Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailment

As many as 39 persons were killed and more than 50 injured when the engine and nine bogies of 18448 Jagdalpur – Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed at Kuneru Railway Station in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh late on Saturday night. The incident occurred at Rayagada – Vizianagaram section on Odisha – Andhra Pradesh border when the engine and 9 coaches including one passenger- cum- luggage coach, two ordinary second class coaches, four sleeper class coaches, one AC three tier coach and one AC two tier coach went off the track.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the loss of lives due to the derailment. “”My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones due to the derailment of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express. The tragedy is saddening. I pray for a speedy recovery of all those injured due to the train accident. The Railway Ministry is monitoring the situation very closely and is working to ensure quick rescue and relied operations,’’ the Prime Minister said.

Of the injured, seven are said to be in a critical condition and have been admitted to various hospitals. Those who had received simple injuries were discharged after first aid. Medical relief train was rushed to the site. A statement issued by the Ministry of Railways said ambulances were arranged to shift the injured to hospitals and National Disaster Relief Force unit was also rushed to the site.

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has expressed profound grief over the loss of innocent lives and described it as a tragic and unfortunate accident. He announced an enhanced ex-gratia payment of Rs. 2 lakh for the kin of deceased persons, Rs. 50,000 for grievous injuries and Rs.25,000 in the case of simple injuries. He visited the site as well.

Statutory inquiry into this incident has been ordered to be conducted by Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), South Central Circle, Ram Kripal under the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Earlier, Member Rolling Stock Railway Board Ravinder Gupta, Member Engineering Railway Board Aditya Kumar Mittal rushed to the site.

Stranded passengers of the affected trains were later cleared towards their respective destinations through the unaffected portion of the train from Kuneru to Bhubaneswar via Rayagada – Sambalpur and 13 buses for short distance destinations like Brahmapur, and Bhawanipatna. Due to this accident, the traffic on Rayagada – Vizianagaram Section has been affected and Railways had to divert, short-terminate and cancel certain trains passing through this Section which are being notified by the respective Zonal Railways.

Senior Railway officials including General Manager, East Coast Railway Shri Umesh Singh and Divisional Railway Manager, Waltair Division Chandralekha Mukherjee are camping at the site to monitor the relief and rescue operations. Helpline Numbers were setup at the important stations along the route of the train, the Ministry statement said. Vice President Hamid Ansari, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu have also expressed grief over the tragedy.”

By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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