Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has offered to quit after back-to-back train derailments in the last four days. Suresh Prabhu wrote on Twitter that he takes full moral responsibility for the accidents and has met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard.
“In less than three years as Minister, I have devoted my blood and sweat for the betterment of the Railways. Undr leadership of PM, tried 2 overcome decades of neglect thru systemic reforms in all areas leading 2 unprecedented investment& milestones. New India envisioned by PM deserves a Rlys which is efficient and modern. I promise that is the path, on which Rlys is progressing now. I am extremely pained by the unfortunate accidents, injuries to passengers and loss of precious lives. It has caused me deep anguish. I met the Hon’ble Prime Minister @narendramodi taking full moral responsibility. Hon’ble PM has asked me to wait,” Prabhu wrote in a series of tweets.
On Saturday, the Kalinga Utkal Express, travelling from Puri to Haridwar, had derailed at Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar killing 22 people and injuring over 150 others. Fourteen bogies of the train had derailed allegedly due to repair and maintenance work being carried out on those tracks at the time. The Government Railway Police began an investigation into the derailment with its personnel visiting the site and talking to locals about the accident. The railways sent three top officials, including a secretary-level Railway Board official, on leave, suspended four officers and transferred one after the incident.
Early Wednesday morning, in the second incident in four days, nine coaches of the Kaifiyat Express derailed near Auriaya injuring over 70 persons. The train met with the accident after a dumper carrying sand overturned on the road parallel to the track.
According to railway officials in North Central Railway (NCR), the collision happened around 2.40 am between Pata and Achhalda railway stations. While eight coaches have been derailed, one coach overturned due to the massive impact of the collision. “An unauthorised dumper broke the railway fence and hit the engine of Kaifiyat Express causing derailment,” the Railway Ministry said in a statement.
Earlier today, Railway Board chairman AK Mital resigned from his post and was replaced by Ashwani Lohani, who served as the chairman and managing director of Air India.