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Union Ministers visit Bahanaga train accident site in Odisha to take stock of restoration work

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Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan visit Bahanaga train accident site in Odisha to take stock of restoration work

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, along with Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan visited the Bahanaga train accident site today to take stock of the restoration work. Informing media from the accident site, the Railway Minister said restoration work is being undertaken on a war footing, adding that train movement in this route will be expected by Wednesday.

Based on the preliminary findings, Railway Minister also informed that the accident involving Coromandel Express, Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, and a goods train near Bahanaga station occurred due to a fault in the interlocking system. 

Mr. Vaishnaw said the Commissioner of Railway Safety is now conducting a high-level probe into the derailment, and the fact will come out soon. Railways sources said all 21 coaches, which had capsized due to the derailment, have been removed from the tracks. In addition, wheelsets and other components were being cleared from the accident site.

It said more than seven Poclain machines, two accident relief trains, four road railways, and safety cranes are deployed, and a thousand-plus workforce is working tirelessly to restore normalcy in this train route. In the meantime, the railways have deployed three special trains, one from Bhadrak to Chennai and two from Howrah to Balasore. The train will have a parcel van attached to carry bodies if required and stoppages at all major stations en route.

In addition to the announcement of ex-gratia by Railways and PM relief fund, the Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today announced ex-gratia of 5 lakh rupees for the deceased’s next of kin in the Balasore train accident. In addition, the Chief Minister also announced ex-gratia of 1 lakh rupees for seriously injured persons.

Meanwhile, the Odisha government has shifted 160 unidentified and unclaimed bodies of train accident victims to different morgues in Bhubaneswar. AIR correspondent reports that 
State Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena informed the media that the bodies of some victims had been handed over to their family members. However, he added that the authorities are yet to identify around 160 bodies.

Besides, the Odisha government uploaded the list of victims of the train tragedy undergoing treatment at various hospitals on three websites today. The websites are srcodisha.nic.in, bmc.gov.in and osdma.org. The list and photographs of the deceased passengers have been uploaded on the websites to facilitate identification. As the images are disturbing, viewer discretion has been advised. S N Pattnaik, Akashvani, Cuttack.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya today took stock of medical assistance being provided to the injured victims of the Odisha triple train accident. First, he visited the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Bhubaneshwar. He will visit SCB Medical College in Cuttack after some time.

As per the information received from the Odisha Health Department, as many as 288 passengers were killed, and a total of 1,175 passengers have been admitted to different hospitals in Odisha, of which 793 have been discharged.
An internal inspection report of South Eastern Railway yesterday said the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express had received a signal indicating moving on to the mainline towards Chennai, but it wrongly veered to a loop line. Moving to the loop line could be due to the human interface. However, the initial probe by railway authorities said it could be either an error or negligence.

Notably, the Friday evening accident involving Coromandel Express, Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express and a goods train near Bahanaga station in Odisha is one of the biggest mishaps in India in the past two decades.

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