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Utkal express derailment: Four Rly staff suspended, death toll rises to 22

Cracking the whip, the Railways sent on leave its three top officials

Agencies  |  Muzaffarnagar/New Delhi 

Utkal Express derailment, Utkal Express
A mangled coach of Utkal Express train being hauled off by a crane at the accident site in Muzaffarnagar on Sunday. A preliminary probe has found that maintenance work was being carried out on tracks which might have caused derailment. Photo: PTI

Negligence at the local level appeared to have caused the derailment of Express near Muzaffarnagar, one of the deadliest train accidents in recent times in which 22 people were killed and over 150 injured, 26 of them grievously, officials said on Sunday.
 
A probe has been ordered to ascertain the exact cause of last evening's derailment, with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu directing Railway Board Chairman to fix responsibility on “prima facie evidence by the end of day”.

 
Cracking the whip, the Railways sent on leave its three top officials, including a secretary-level Railway Board official, Aditya Mittal, suspended four officers and transferred one.
 
Member (Engineering) in the Railway Board, Northern Railway General Manager and Divisional Regional Manager (Delhi) have been sent on leave in the wake of the derailment in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh, the Railways said.
 
The Railways also suspended four of its officials — Senior Divisional Engineer, Assistant Engineer, a Senior Section Engineer (Permanent Way), responsible for track maintenance and a Junior Engineer.
 
Chief Track Engineer, Northern Railway, was transferred as part of the action by the Railways.
 
The train, which was on its way from in Odisha to in Uttarakhand, had 23 coaches, of which 13 derailed, said Divisional Railway Manager, Division, R N Singh.
 
Six coaches of the train, which was running at a speed of over 100 kmph, were severely damaged, he added. One coach crashed into a house.
 
The railways have deployed high-tech cranes and scores of workers to clear the tracks near Khatauli.
 
Two 140-tonne cranes were being used since early this morning to clear the derailed coaches, from which survivors had been rescued and bodies pulled out till late last night.
 
Rescue operation by the Disaster Response Force got over at around 3 am. The death toll in the accident went up to 22, with one more person identified as Sushil Kumar succumbing to injuries in a hospital in Ghaziabad, according to District Magistrate of Muzaffarnagar G S Priydarshi. Of them, 15 bodies have been identified.
 
Principal Secretary (Information) to the UP government Awanish Kumar Awasthi said 156 people were injured in the derailment and many among them remain critical.
 

First Published: Mon, August 21 2017. 02:00 IST
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