"Prime facie, it seems maintenance work was being carried out on the tracks".
As the death toll mounted from the recent railway tragedy, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu called for a probe into the matter to identify the reason behind the derailment of the Utkal Express. He had ordered an inquiry into the accident yesterday. Two heavy-duty 140-tonne cranes were deployed to clear the tracks.
Two National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, comprising 45 personnel each, and two canines have been mobilized to the accident site from their base in Ghaziabad.Medical vans have also been rushed to the site.
"Restoration is top priority".
So far 24 deaths have been announced and more than 156 have been reported injured, while 10 are in a critical state.
Linesmen and other workers shovelled away stones as new concrete sleepers were laid to reinforce the tracks. "We have to make Indian Railways a benchmark organisation in safety, security and infrastructure." the Railway Minister had then said. Television visuals show that derailed bogies have crashed into a house.
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Pointing to a derailed train coach, Chaudhary said, "This is exactly where I was sitting, with my mother and father". Sanjay Nayak, the hospital manager, said, "We did not take a single penny from the victims".
"14 coaches got derailed".
"Forget bullet trains, 27 train accidents have taken place since the Narandra Modi government took office (in May 2014)". The stranded passengers thanked the nearby villagers who were the first to reach the spot and help the injured passengers.
Prabhu announced ex-gratia of Rs 3.5 lakh for those who lost their lives, Rs 50,000 for seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for people with minor injuries in the unfortunate accident.
A medical team comprising of Dr Kanhei Mohapatra (Orthopedician), Dr Rajib Jena (Medicine Specialist), Kedar Jena (Pharmacist) has been sent to Muzaffarnagar by the Government of Odisha along with medicines to take care of the injured. According to reports, the train was scheduled to travel to Bihar's Kishanganj, carrying soil for the flood-affected region.