Odisha train accident: More than 200 people have died and around 900 were injured when three trains (involving the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and a goods train) collided one after another in a horrific sequence in Odisha's Balasore district on Friday evening. The accident happened when a passenger train hit the derailed coaches of another train near Bahanaga Bazar station in Balasore followed by a collision with a goods train causing a crash of several coaches. The train crash 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 Friday, prompting the Railway Ministry to order a probe.
The Friday train crash in Odisha is one of the deadliest such accidents in the history of Indian Railways. The rescue operation has been completed and the officials are now starting the restoration work.
Here is what we know so far about the Odisha Train Accident:
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday convened a meeting to review the situation. PM Modi will also visit Odisha today. First, he will visit the site of the accident in Balasore and then he will visit the hospital in Cuttack.
- Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik also visited the site of the horrific site and took stock of the situation in Balasore. "I have to thank the local people, local teams who have worked overnight. Railways safety should always be given the first preference. The people have been taken to hospital, " CM Naveen Patnaik said.
- The Indian Railways has initiated a high-level probe into the train crash in Odisha to be headed by the commissioner of railway safety, South Eastern Circle. Railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw takes stock of the situation at the accident site in Balasore and ordered a high-level probe to determine the cause of the accident.
- West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited the accident site and termed it the "biggest railway accident of the 21st century." West Bengal government also announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakhs each for the next of kin of those people from the state who died in the accident. Rs 1 Lakh each was announced for those with serious injuries and Rs 50,000 each for those with minor injuries.
- The Odisha government declared a day of state mourning on Saturday in the wake of the horrific train derailment. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik declared that no state celebration would take place on the day.
- Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has also announced mourning today. CM MK Stalin announced that all events related to the birth anniversary of the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu M Karunanidhi have been cancelled or postponed. Tamil Nadu Ministers Udhayanidhi Stalin, Siva Shankar and Anbil Mahesh have departed from Chennai. A high-level delegation comprising state ministers and officials has been sent to coordinate the rescue and relief activities at the accident site.
- The railway ministry has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of the deceased, Rs 2 lakh to those severely injured, and Rs 50,000 to those who sustained with minor injuries. PM Modi also announced 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). Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin also announced financial assistance for Balasore train accident victims.
- All government and private hospitals have been put on alert in the nearby districts, including the AIIMS at Bhubaneswar.
- The Indian Army was roped in to assist the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), several fire units and ambulances in the rescue operation. Army medical and engineering teams with ambulances and support services have been deployed from the Eastern command.
- Following the tragic train accident, several trains have been cancelled and delayed. So far, 18 long-distance trains have been cancelled.
(With agencies input)