Utkal Express derailment: Indian Railways cracks the whip on top officials; train to resume services from tomorrow

After remaining out of service for a day, the Kalinga Utkal Express train would resume services from Puri on Tuesday and from Haridwar on 25 August, a press release from East Coast Railway (ECoR) said.The train will run as per the composition, timings and stoppages scheduled it.

Due to derailment of Utkal Express at Muzaffarnagar on 19 August, it was decided to cancel the services of this train for one day each from Puri and Haridwar respectively but rail traffic in Khatauli was restored on Monday, with the first train leaving the spot at 1:21 am, the Northern Railways said.

One day after the incident, the Indian railways cracked the whip over the Utkal Express derailment and sent on leave three top officials, including a secretary-level Railway Board official, suspended four officers and transferred one.

Member (Engineering) in the Railway Board, Northern Railway general manager and divisional regional manager (Delhi) have been sent on leave in the wake of the derailment, in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, the Railways said.

Coaches of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express train after it derailed in Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar on Sunday. PTI

The Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express train derailed on Saturday. PTI

The Railways also suspended four of its officials — senior divisional engineer, assistant engineer, a senior section engineer (Permanent Way) responsible for track maintenance, and a junior engineer.

The chief track engineer at Northern Railway was also transferred.

The Railway Board had already promised strict action against those found culpable. Speaking to the media, Mohammad Jamshed, member traffic, Railway Board, said that the board will take cognisance of the loopholes in the communication that led to the accident.

In further developments related to the incident, an FIR has been registered against unknown persons, the police said on Sunday. "The FIR was lodged under sections 287 (negligent conduct with respect to machinery), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 304A (causing death by negligence) and 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) of the Indian Penal Code, and sections 151 (damage to or destruction of certain railway properties) and 153 (endangering safety of persons travelling by railway by wilful act or omission) of the Railway Act against unknown persons," an Uttar Pradesh police spokesperson said.

Commissioner of Railway Safety Shailesh Kumar Pathak will start an inquiry into the train derailment on Monday, and said he will also scan a 15-minute audio clip containing a conversation between a railway staffer and a media person, in which the former alleges that the track was broken and work to repair it was not being done properly. He added that the authenticity of the clip is yet to be verified. He also invited people present at the site to be part of the inquiry into the derailment of the Utkal Express.

The accident resulted in the death of 22 people and injuries to over 150 others, 26 of whom are in critical condition.

Meanwhile, more than 50 passengers who sustained injuries in the accident have been discharged following treatment, while free medical treatment for 102 injured passengers was in progress.  UP Cabinet minister and BJP leader Satish Mahana added that the state government was also providing food and accommodation to passengers' relatives who are reaching Muzaffarnagar.

The railways also said on Sunday that it has distributed a total of Rs 25 lakh so far as ex-gratia to the affected passengers and the kin of the dead. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has announced that Rs 3.5 lakh will be paid to the kin of the dead, Rs 50,000 to the grievously injured and Rs 25,000 to those with minor injuries.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Aug 21, 2017 22:36:49 IST

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