Odisha train accident: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday visited the train accident site in Balasore and carried out an inspection with Union Ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw, Dharmendra Pradhan. The accident, involving three trains, is one of the worst in the country that took place in Balasore district on Friday night. The accident killed at least 261 people also injured more than 900 people. Earlier in the day, the PM also convened a meeting to review the situation.
At the site of the mishap, PM Modi reviewed relief works that are underway. He interacted with local authorities, personnel from the disaster relief forces and railways officials. He emphasised on ‘Whole of Government’ approach to mitigating this monumental tragedy.
The PM spoke to Cabinet Secretary and Health Minister from the site. He asked them to ensure all needed help is provided to the injured and their families. He also said that special care must be taken to ensure that the bereaved families don’t face inconvenience and that those affected keep getting the assistance they require.
After taking stock of the situation at Balasore train accident site, PM Modi arrives at a hospital in Balasore to meet the injured victims.
A visibly emotional PM Modi after meeting the injured said, "It's a painful incident. Govt will leave no stone unturned for the treatment of those injured. It's a serious incident, and instructions are issued for probes from every angle. Those found guilty will be punished stringently. The railway is working towards track restoration. I met the injured victims."
Earlier, PM Modi had announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of each deceased in the train mishap in Odisha. The injured would be given Rs. 50,000.
The accident 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.
According to an official, several coaches of the 12864 Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, on the way to Howrah, derailed and fell on adjacent tracks. 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.
According to Amitabh Sharma, Railways Spokesperson, "The rescue operation has been completed, now we are starting the restoration work. Kawach was not available on this route."
Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw reached the accident spot and took stock of the ongoing rescue operation. Speaking to reporters at the site, he assured to conduct a detailed high-level inquiry into the incident. "A detailed high-level inquiry will be conducted and the rail safety commissioner will also do an independent inquiry," Vaishnaw added.