At least 19 people were killed and 121 were injured after seven bogies of a passenger train derailed near Roha in Maharashtra’s Raigad district Sunday morning. The condition of 26 passengers is stated to be critical.
According to official sources, the Diva-Sawantwadi passenger train, which left Diva at around 7.30 am, derailed shortly after crossing the Bhise Khind tunnel at around 9.30 am. While the exact cause of the accident is yet to be confirmed, railway officials, who reached the spot, said they suspect track fracture led to the derailment. The engine and the first two bogies were the worst affected.
The Railways has ordered an inquiry by Commissioner of Railway Safety (Central Railway), Chetan Bakshi. Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the relatives of those killed in the accident, Rs 50,000 for the grievously injured and Rs 10,000 for those with minor injuries. Helpline numbers have been set up at CST, Dadar, Thane, Panvel, Ratnagiri and CBD Belapurto assist relatives of dead and injured passengers.
The rescue works got slowed as two trees that were alongside the tracks got entangled with the wreckage of the train. “Removing the first two bogies and the engine was the priority, as the rest of the bogies were easily manageable,” said K N Singh, Senior Divisional Operation Manager, Central Railways.
Arunendra Kumar, Chairman, Railway Board, who was on his way to the accident spot, said, “Our first priority is to provide rescue and relief to the passengers. The coaches are badly mangled and there have been many casualties. The cause of the accident will be determined in the inquiry into the accident.”
According to a senior railway officer, by Monday morning the site of the accident will be cleared. “We will have to cut the coaches and then lift them with a crane. The exercise will go through the night and we are hoping to clear the debris soon for the services to start,” said an official.
The accident affected train services on the Konkan route with at least eight trains being diverted and two cancelled, railway officials said.