The toll in the Utkal Express derailment rose to 23 by Saturday night, NDTV reported. More than 80 people were injured after 14 coaches of the Puri-Haridwar-Kalinga train got derailed in Uttar Pradesh’s Khatauli on Saturday evening.
The train was headed from Odisha’s Puri to Haridwar in Uttarakhand. Unidentified officials told The Indian Express that the accident took place at 5.46 pm “as the train was crossing the Khatauli station yard at a speed of 105 kmph”. Personnel of the National Disaster Response Force and the police worked with gas cutters and cranes late into the night to find survivors.
The Centre announced a compensation of Rs 3.5 lakh each for the families of the victims, Rs 50,000 for those seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for those who sustained minor injuries, reported India Today. Earlier, the Uttar Pradesh government had announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of the dead and Rs 50,000 for those injured.
Trains passing through the Meerut line of the Northern Railway were either cancelled or diverted till 6 pm on Sunday. Divisional Railway Manager (Delhi) RN Singh said the diverted trains will run through Shamli till the restoration work was over. The upturned coaches have been removed from the site of the accident, reported The Times of India.
‘Fix responsibility for the Utkal Express derailment’
Suresh Prabhu on Sunday directed Railway Board Chairperson AK Mittal to find out who was responsible for the Utkal Express derailment by the end of the day.
“We will not allow laxity in operations by the [Railway] Board,” Prabhu said on Twitter. “I have directed the CRB to fix responsibility based on prima facie evidence by end of day.”
The minister said he was monitoring the restoration efforts closely. “Restoration is [our] top priority,” he said in another tweet. “Seven coaches [have been] tackled. We are also ensuring the best possible medical care for the injured. I am monitoring the situation closely.”
Residents of the region and passengers have claimed that maintenance work was going on in the area just before the accident. However, the divisional railway manager claimed that “it was just some routine work”. “The railway minister has already ordered an inquiry,” he told PTI. “So let the report come. I cannot say anything more.”
The police have registered a case against unknown people under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including death due to negligence.