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Utkal Express Derailment: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Wants Answers by ‘End of the Day’

Day after the Kalinga Utkal Express derailment, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has asked the Railway Board chairman to fix responsibility on "prima facie evidence by the end of day".

Updated:August 20, 2017, 5:04 PM IST
Utkal Express Derailment: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Wants Answers by ‘End of the Day’
A crane lifts one of the 14 mangled coaches of the Utkal Express which derailed on Saturday evening in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar. (Network18 photo)
New Delhi: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday directed the Railway Board to fix responsibility on "prima facie evidence by the end of day" into the derailment of the Utkal Express near Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh.

The minister said he was monitoring the situation closely and that restoration of tracks was his top priority.

At least 23 people died and 156 were injured after 14 coaches of the Utkal Express derailed on Saturday evening.

"Restoration is top priority. Seven coaches tackled. Also ensuring best possible medical care for the injured. monitoring situation closely," he said in a tweet.

"Will not allow laxity in operations by the Board. Have directed CRB to fix responsibility on prima facie evidence by end of day," he tweeted.

The minister, who has been keeping a close tab on the situation, directed senior officials and medical personnel to provide assistance to injured passengers and all possible help to relatives of affected passengers.

The minister also announced Rs 3.5 lakh compensation for families of those who lost their lives, Rs 50,000 for the seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for those who received minor injuries.

Addressing a press conference later in the day, Railway Board (Traffic) member Mohammad Jamshed said traffic on the line would be restored around 10pm. “Strict action will be taken against those found guilty,” he added.

“Some maintenance work was going on, which might have caused the derailment. The Railway Commissioner for Safety will ascertain what type of maintenance work was being carried out on the track in his detailed probe,” Jamshed said.

An FIR has been registered into the tragedy against unknown persons under various sections of the IPC, including 304A (death due to negligence).

The train was coming from Puri in Odisha and going to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, normally a journey of about 36 hours.

The railway accident brought tragedy for not only the passengers of the Utkal Express, but also for locals whose houses lined the tracks, and are now splattered with blood.

NDRF personnel, pressed into service for search and rescue operations, were seen pulling out bodies from the mangled coach that had rammed the boundary wall of Choudhary Tilak Ram Inter College.

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