ALSO READUtkal Express derailment: At least 20 dead, 92 injured Mahakaushal Express derails, 22 injured: What we know so far Hindalco to invest Rs 700 crore on de-bottlenecking Utkal alumina refinery Hindalco posts lower-than-expected Q1 net at Rs 290 cr on higher provision We have prepayment plans of Rs 9,000 cr debt in current fiscal: Satish Pai
Negligence at the local level appeared to have caused the derailment of Utkal 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 Puri in Odisha to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, had 23 coaches, of which 13 derailed, said Divisional Railway Manager, Delhi 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 National 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.