More than 230 people were killed and about 900 injured in a horrific train crash in Odisha, involving the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and a goods train, officials said on June 3. As per the sources, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will go to Odisha today. First, he will visit the site of the accident in Balasore and then he will visit the Hospital in Cuttack.
“Death toll rises to 233 in the Balasore Train Accident,” Odisha Chief Secretary PK Jena tweeted. The train crash, one of the deadliest in India in recent times, happened near the Bahanaga Baazar station in Balasore district, about 250 km south of Kolkata and 170 km north of Bhubaneswar, around 7 pm on June 2.
As per the recent updates, over 900 injured persons have been received at FM Medical College at Balasore and Cuttak. The Coromandel Express (Train number 12841), which runs from Kolkata’s Howrah station in West Bengal to Tamil Nadu’s Chennai, collided with a goods train in Odisha’s Balasore on June 2.
Officials in Bhubaneswar said 115 ambulances, 50 buses and 45 mobile health units were working at the accident site, besides 1,200 personnel. The bodies were being taken to the hospitals in all kinds of vehicles, including tractors.
The 12864 Sir M Visvesvaraya (Bengaluru)-Howrah Express Superfast Express was travelling towards Howrah with 1000 passengers. A special train carrying 200 stranded passengers is now headed from Balasore to Howrah.
“Water, tea and food packets are being provided to passengers at Kharagpur station. Food packets will also be provided in Howrah after arrival of the train,” South Eastern Railway said.
The collision took place near the Bahanaga railway station in Balasore district. Visuals from the spot showed overturned coaches.
Several coaches of the 12864 Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, on the way to Howrah, derailed and fell on adjacent tracks. The 12841 Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express coming from the opposite direction on the parallel track rammed into the derailed coaches. Some 12 Coromandel Express coaches derail and hit the stationary goods train on the third track.
According to Railway spokesperson Amitabh Sharma, the accident took place around 7 pm on June 2. Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw reached the spot and supervised the rescue operation “A detailed high-level inquiry will be conducted and the rail safety commissioner will also do an independent inquiry,” Vaishnaw said on June 3.
He added, “Our focus is on rescue and relief operations. Restoration will begin after clearance from the district administration”.
Odisha’s Special Relief Commissioner Satyabrata Sahoo said those injured in the accident were undergoing treatment in different hospitals. All government and private hospitals have been put on alert in the nearby districts, including the AIIMS at Bhubaneswar. Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, who was on the way to the spot, said the Air Force was also called in for assisting the rescue operations.
Speaking to ANI, the NDRF DG said, “It is a very tragic incident, a huge loss of lives. Nine teams of NDRF – more than 300 rescuers – are working in coordination with SDRF and other agencies. This is the third such major incident in our history.” “The force with which the three trains collided with each other resulted in several coaches getting crushed and being in a mangled condition there. It is a challenge to cut through them and get inside to ensure that the live victims are not affected,” he added.
Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw arrived at the accident spot in Odisha’s Balasore where three trains collided on June 3. The Odisha government has declared a day of mourning on Saturday after the train derailment.
Speaking to ANI on the incident, Vaishnaw said the accident was unfortunate and the rescue operation began shortly after word of the incident reached his ministry.
The special train C P13671 EX-BBS-MAS carrying 250 passengers started at 8: 40 AM on Saturday and will halt at all scheduled stops of train no 12841. The special train is scheduled to reach Chennai Central Railway station tentatively at 9 AM on Sunday, mentioned an official statement.
So far, 18 long-distance trains have been cancelled due to the accident, which happened on the Howrah-Chennai main line in the Kharagpur division of the South Eastern Railway.
Meanwhile, Army teams have been deployed to assist in the evacuation and treatment of injured citizens in the Odisha triple train accident that claimed the lives of 238 people. According to Indian Army, the teams have been routed from multiple bases so as to reach the place of the incident as early as possible.
The railways announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased, Rs 2 lakh for those grievously injured and Rs 50,000 for those who got minor injuries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi too expressed his distress over the accident, and announced an additional ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured from the PM’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF).
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said will be visiting the site by the morning. The Odisha government issued helpline 06782-262286. The railway helplines are 033-26382217 (Howrah), 8972073925 (Kharagpur), 8249591559 (Balasore) and 044- 25330952 (Chennai). Expressing concern over the accident, in which a large number of people from West Bengal were involved, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she was monitoring the situation along with the chief secretary and other officials.
(With inputs from ANI)