EIGHTEEN months after the Kasara-bound CST train derailed between Titwala and Ambivali station on March 20, 2014, leading to the death of 18-year-old HSC student Dhaval Lodaya and injuries to 12 other passengers, parents of the deceased boy have filed an FIR against Central Railway’s (CR) electrical department blaming the latter for the mishap.
The move comes after the Lodaya family was able to get access to the final report prepared by the CR on the reasons that led to the train derailment. The final report allegedly puts the blame on the railway’s electrical department and admits “it took very long to give first aid to the accident victims”.
On April 3, The Indian Express had reported on the commissioner of railway safety (central railway zone) Chetan Bakshi’s findings in his preliminary report that was prepared in 2014. The final report, completed early this year, said: “.responsibility has been fixed on the electrical department of central railway”.
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The report further said: “In the inquiry, the Shafu coupler was found to be damaged. CRS has recommended to the central railway not to use over age coaches. They should conduct periodic overhauling (POH) regularly.”
An extract from the final report also made a critical observation, “The accident relief van should be kept at some other locations apart from Kalyan… After it was
realised, it took very long to give first aid to the accident victims at Titwala, which also led to the death of Dhaval Lodaya.”
On March 20, 2014, five coaches of the Kasara local train had derailed at 2.50pm. The first ambulance arrived after 45 minutes in which Dhaval was not taken, alleged his three friends.
By the time the second ambulance took him to the hospital, two hours were wasted. He was declared dead on arrival at Rukmini Bai hospital, Kalyan.
The Lodaya family is now not only battling for monetary compensation from the railways, but is also aiming to sought action against the officials at fault in the electrical department for poor quality coupler.
An FIR was lodged with the Kalyan GRP on October 3 under Section 175 (not producing a document or instrument to public servant by person) and Section 304
(2) which relates to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
According to Nidhi Lodaya, sister of deceased Dhaval, only one hearing for compensation has taken place so far. “We had been running around for too long. Now we want to take action against those responsible for my son’s death. After no action was taken by railways against the CR even after the report was prepared, I decided to lodge a complaint,” said Dhaval’s father Mayur Lodaya.
Narendra Patil, Chief Public Relations officer at CR, said that internal inquiry was held in this case and the coupler found at fault was factory made.
“Only the wheel of train got derailed not the entire coach. This accident was one of its kind. There are 1,618 trains running on central railway every day and the scope of an accident cannot be ignored with such large scale operations.” He added that investigations are on in this case and requisite action will be taken.