A day after 14 coaches of the Utkal Express derailed in Muzzafarnagar, leaving at least 21 dead and over 100 passengers injured, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday directed Chairman of Railway Board, A K Mittal, to fix responsibility for the tragedy on “prima facie evidence by the end of day” .
The Union Minister also added that the situation is being closely monitored and that strict action will be taken in case of any lapse. He also said that restoration work was on in full swing and that medical attention is being provided to the victims of the accident. Taking to Twitter, he said, “Restoration is top priority. Seven coaches tackled. Also ensuring best possible medical care for the injured. monitoring situation closely. Will not allow laxity in operations by the Board. Have directed CRB to fix responsibility on prima facie evidence by end of day.” Read| Utkal Express derailment: ‘Heard a loud noise, saw coaches flying’ Click here
Meanwhile, Mohammed Jamshed, Member Traffic (Railways), said that maintenance work on the track might have caused the derailment. Briefing the press, Jamshed said: “Railway Commissioner, Safety, will ascertain what type of maintenance work was being carried out on the track in his detailed probe.”
He (Railway Commissioner) will also ascertain whether safety rules have been violated, Jamshed said. “We will take strict against our staff if they are found guilty,” he added.
A few locals from the surrounding villages claimed that repair work had been under way on the track for the last 10 days. Responding to this, DRM of the Delhi Division, R N Singh had said, “It was just some routine work. And, the railway minister has already ordered an inquiry. So, let the report come, I cannot say, anything more on that.”
PM Modi, meanwhile condemned the incident saying, “Extremely pained by the derailment of the Utkal Express in Muzaffarnagar. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased.” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath called the accident “unfortunate” and added that the state officials were in close touch with the railway ministry to coordinate rescue and relief operations. He also said that financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of those killed and Rs 50,000 each to those injured will be provided. Read| Utkal Express derails in Uttar Pradesh: 20 die, over 80 injured as 14 coaches go off track. Click here
Suresh Prabhu has also announced a compensation of Rs 3.5 lakh for the kin of the deceased, Rs 50,000 for the seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for those who received minor injuries.
(With inputs from PTI)