The death toll in the Gorakhdham Express tragedy rose to 28 Tuesday, a day after the train rammed into a stationary goods train at Churaib station in Sant Kabir Nagar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on his first day in office, announced ex-gratia for deceased and sent Union minister Kalraj Mishra and Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha to visit the accident site and the hospitals.
“Prima facie it appeared that the incident took place due to fractured rails,” Mishra, the Union minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises said.
A preliminary inquiry by Railways also suggested that Gorakhdham Express derailed at 10.30 am on Monday,due to a “track fracture” and rammed into the stationed goods train on a parallel track.
To a media query, Mishra said it will also be probed whether there was any possibility of terrorist conspiracy behind the incident. He said the Director of Railways would probe into the incident Chief Public Relations Officer-North Eastern Railway (CPRO-NER) Alok Kumar Singh informed that the body of assistant locomotive pilot Kumar Ravi Ranjan was also retrieved Tuesday taking the death toll to 28. An injured locomotive pilot Lakshmi Narayan is already admitted to a hospital. CPRO said that 10 passengers with serious injuries and 21 with minor injuries were still admitted in various hospitals.
District Magistrate Bharat Lal said 11 more bodies have been recovered since last light and added that gas cutters were being used to cut bogies and efforts were on to clear the track. Train services remained disrupted along the route with 15 trains being cancelled and eight trains running on short-termination.
Meanwhile, Union MoS Manoj Sinha, who visited the spot, alleged that the local administration did not cooperate in relief and rescue operations after the mishap. “The district administration did not cooperate in relief and rescue operation after the accident. Had they cooperated, the operation would have been carried out in better way”, Sinha said.
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Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of those killed and Rs 50,000 for the injured, DIG, public grievances A Satish Ganesh told reporters in Lucknow. The Railways too increased the ex-gratia sum to Rs 2 lakh for the kin of the deceased, Rs 1 lakh for the grievously injured and Rs 20,000 for those with minor injuries.
Meanwhile, in his first decision after taking over, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, through a statement, announced a relief of Rs 2 lakh each to the kin of those killed and Rs 50,000 for those seriously injured in the incident.
CPRO Alok Kumar said the two Union ministers were accompanied by MPs Yogi Adityanath (Gorakhpur), Kamlesh Paswan (Bansgaon), Sharad Tripathi (Sant Kabir Nagar) and Gorakhpur Urban MLA Radha Mohan Das.