Odisha train accident: In the wake of the horrific train accident in Balasore, the Odisha government has declared a day of state mourning on Saturday. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik declared that no state celebration would take place on the day. The announcement was made through an official release by the state I&PR Department. "Important Announcement: In view of the tragic rail accident at Bahanaga, Hon'ble Chief Minister, Sri Naveen Patnaik has ordered for State Mourning for a day. Hence no State celebration to take place on 3rd June throughout the State," the Information & Public Relations Department of the Odisha government tweeted.
Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said he has ordered a high-level probe into the derailment on Friday night. The railway ministry has also announced an ex gratia of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of those who lost their lives, while Rs 2 Lakh towards grievous and Rs 50,000 for minor injuries. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of each deceased and Rs 50,000 to injured people in the mishap.
Air Force pressed to assist rescue operations
State 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.
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. According to reports, more than 2,000 people gathered at the Balasore Medical College and Hospital in the night to help the injured, and many also donated blood. Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena thanked the volunteers who donated blood to the accident victims in their hour of need.
About the horrific accident
It should be mentioned here that 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. The train crash, one of the deadliest in India in the recent times, happened near the Bahanaga Baazar station in Balasore district around 7 pm on Friday.
Several coaches of the 12864 Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, on the way to Howrah, derailed and fell on the adjacent track. A goods train was also involved in the accident as some of the coaches of the Coromandel Express, which was heading to Chennai, hit its wagons after getting derailed. As rescue operations are underway, gas cutters are also being used to bring out the bodies from under the derailed coaches.
(With inputs from agencies)