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At least 261 people killed & over 900 injured in Friday's train accident in Odisha

At least 261 people killed & over 900 injured in Friday's train accident in Odisha

Balasore, June 3 (UNI) In a ghastly train accident at Bahanaga in Odisha's Balasore on Friday, at least 261 people were killed and over 900 injured with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik declaring state mourning for a day, while Railway Minister Ashiwini Vaishnav ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident.
The accident occurred when Shalimar-Chennai Coromondal Express collided with a goods train and also with the Yeshwanthpur-Howrah Express near Bahanaga in Balasore District at around 7 PM on Friday. So far 900 injured passengers, who have been rescued and admitted to various hospitals of the state, are undergoing treatment.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Railway Minister Ashiwini Vaishnaw and Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan visited the accident site and reviewed the situation.
Leaders of various political parties, including BJP state President Manmohan Samal and OPCC President Sarat Patnaik also visited the spot.
Railway. Minister Aswani Vaishnaw on Saturday morning arrived at ground zero at Bahanaga station and reviewed the situation with senior railway officials, NDRF and ODRAF teams. Railway Board Chairman Anil Kumar Lahoti was also present at the spot The Railway Minister has already ordered a high-level inquiry into the accident.
Vaishnav said the rescue operation is over and restoration work has started, and appealed to the people, who gathered at the site of the accident, to vacate the place to help the railway authorities to undertake restoration work.
Vaishnaw said now priority is given to the treatment of the injured passengers.
He said a detailed inquiry would be conducted to go into the root of the cause of the accident,
adding the government would ensure that no such incident occurred in future.
The Railway Minister said at present the focus’ is on the rescue and treatment of the injured.
He expressed his grief over the death people in the accident and expressed his sympathies to the bereaved families.
The Railway Minister said a committee will be formed to inquire into the incident and a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the incident and complete investigation would be made.
He said the Railway Safety Commissioner will soon visit the site to assess the situation.
Meanwhile, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ordered for a state mourning for a day. No state celebration would take place on June 3 throughout the day.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who reviewed the situation in a high level meet in New Delhi, is also scheduled to visit the accident later on Saturday.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who visited the train accident site with officials, said had there been the anti-collision device, the major tragedy could have been averted.
Announcing Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia to the deceased from Bengal, Banerjee said 40 doctors and 110 ambulances from her state have been deployed at the accident site.
The Bengal Government has also provided buses to the site to take back the passengers, she informed.
She said had there been anti-collision devices, such a major tragedy could have been averted,
and had a spat with Railway Minister over the casualty figure.
Banerjee mentioned that 500 people have lost their lives as more bodies are still in three more bogies, saying 60 per cent of the passengers in the train hailed from West Bengal.
She also expressed her readiness to give her suggestion on prevention of such accident as she
had served the Railways Ministry in the past.
Officials from Bengal will be monitoring the rescue and relief operation at the accident site, Banerjee said adding she will also visit the Balasore district headquarters hospital to see the injured passengers.
Odisha Chief Secretary P K Jena said the process for postmortem and identification of bodies has started.
He said after an appeal hundreds of people came to the hospital in the midnight on Friday night to donate blood to the accident victims. So far 900 units of blood has been collected in Balasore hospital. Reports said 100 units of blood has also collected at SCB Medical college.
The bodies extricated from the coaches have been kept in two schools in Bahanaga. The corpses would be taken to local hospitals for post-mortem.
A technical team of the Railway made an aerial survey of the accident site early in the morning.
As many as 15 coaches and one engine got derailed or capsized in the mishap at around 7 PM.
Sources said after a collision with a goods train, ten coaches of the Chennai-bound Coromandel Express capsized, while another coach and the engine derailed and fell on the opposite track. After some time, the Howrah-bound Yeshwanthpur-Howrah Express dashed into those derailed coaches. As a result, two GS coaches and two bogies of that train also derailed and capsized.

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