Published On: Mon, Aug 21st, 2017

4 Railway officials suspended, GM sent on leave: Utkal Express derailment

New Delhi: The government on Sunday suspended four railway officials and sent the General Manager of Northern Railway on leave following the derailment of the Kalinga Utkal Express that killed 23 passengers.

Based on prima facie evidence, a Junior Engineer (Permanent Way), a Senior Section Engineer (Permanent Way), an Assistant Engineer and a Senior Divisional Engineer have been suspended, a Railway Ministry statement said. It said that the Chief Track Engineer of Northern Railway was also transferred while the Divisional Rail Manager, Delhi, and the General Manager of the Northern Railway as well as the Railway Board’s Member (Engineering) were sent on leave.

In a major train accident, at least 23 passengers were killed and over 150 others were injured when 14 coaches of the Utkal Express jumped the rails in Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar. The train was coming from Puri in Odisha and going to Haridwar in Uttarakhand. An FIR has been registered against unknown persons in the Utkal express derailment in U.P. for gross negligence.

The accident occurred around 5.45 pm Saturday evening. NDRF teams were rushed to the spot for relief and rescue operations at Khatouli railway station. Heavyweight cranes and gas cutters were used, and locals were seen helping out those engaged in rescue work. The injured are being treated in nearby hospitals in Muzaffarnagar and Meerut. Muzaffarnagar authorities have set up a control room to assist families of those affected. The numbers are: 0131- 2436918, 0131-2436103 and 0131-2436564.

Rescue operations have been completed and the restoration work at the section is underway in full swing. The derailment of the Utkal Express also resulted in cancellation of three train services and diversion of six others.

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu said that he is closely monitoring the situation at Khatauli. Prabhu said in a Tweet that restoration is the top priority of the Railways. He informed that seven coaches have been tackled so far. He also ensured best possible medical care for the injured. In a tough message, the Railway minister said that any laxity in operations by the Railway Board will not be allowed. He also directed the Board Chairman to fix responsibility on prima facie evidence by the end of the day. The Railway Minister has already ordered an inquiry into the derailment.

The Railway minister earlier announced an Ex gratia of Rs.3.5 Lakh for the next of kin who lost their lives in Khatauli train accident, while Rs.50 thousand has been announced for those who are seriously injured, and Rs. 25 thousand for people with minor injuries.

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