Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has offered to resign on Wednesday following back-to-back train derailments in the past four days. Suresh Prabhu posted on Twitter saying he takes full moral responsibility for the derailments and he has met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard. “Met PM Narendra Modi. I am taking full moral responsibility. PM has asked me to wait,” wrote Prabhu on Twitter.
In a series of tweets today, Suresh Prabhu sought to explain his performance as the Railway Minister in the past three years under the leadership of PM Modi. “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 Modi taking full moral responsibility. Hon’ble PM has asked me to wait.” Also Read: 9 coaches of Kaifiyat Express derail in Auraiya, over 70 injured
Suresh Prabhu offered to resign in the face of two back-to-back train derailments in the last four days: the Kalinga Utkal Express train accident in Khatauli, Uttar Pradesh in which at least 14 coaches derailed killing over 20 passengers and injuring over 150. Today, the Kafiyat Express derailed in Auraiya in Uttar Pradesh, in which at least 70 people have been injured. No casualties have been reported so far in this accident. The Puri-Haridwar Kalinga Utkal Express derailment is one of the deadliest train mishaps in the recent times. Also Read: Suresh Prabhu offers to resign as Railways minister, PM Narendra Modi ‘asks him to wait’
As per railway officials in North Central Railway (NCR), the Kafiyat Express accident took place at around 2.40 am between Pata and Achhalda railway stations. They said eight coaches have been derailed, while one overturned because of the massive impact of the collision. The Railway Ministry said in a statement today: “An unauthorised dumper broke the railway fence and hit the engine of Kaifiyat Express causing derailment. There are no casualties.” Also Read: Utkal Express derailment: Railways’ problem with trackmen, too qualified for manual labour
Citing the cause of the derailment of the Kafiyat Express, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu also tweeted later, “A dumper hit the locomotive of the Kaifiyat Express, resulting in derailment. Some passengers have received injuries and have been shifted to nearby hospitals.”
Meanwhile, Ashwani Lohani was appointed as the new Chairman of Railway Board after AK Mital tendered his resignation following recent train accidents. Lohani who holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering, currently is the Chairman & Managing Director of Air India. AK Mital tendered his resignation earlier today following the derailments. In July, Mital became the first Railway Board chairman in history to be granted a two-year extension. His appointment was cleared by the Prime Minister’s Office. It was not immediately known if his resignation has been accepted by Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu. A confirmation is awaited. Also Read: Ashwani Lohani appointed new Chairman of Railway Board
As per a PTI report, at least 53 per cent of the 586 train accidents in the last five years were due to derailments with the Utkal Express derailment being the latest. Notwithstanding the railways’ attempts to upgrade the safety apparatus, many such accidents continue to occur. Over 20 people died and 97 were injured after 14 coaches of the Utkal Express derailed near Muzzafarnagar in western Uttar Pradesh on Saturday evening.
According to official figures, of a total of 586 rail accidents in the last five years, nearly 53 per cent were due to derailments. Since November 2014, there have been 20 rail accidents, many of them minor.
(With PTI inputs)