Odisha Train Tragedy: Death Toll Mounts to 288; PM Assures of Best Medical Treatment


"Those who have died cannot be brought back. But the government will stand by their families. This is a very serious incident. A probe has been ordered. Whoever is found guilty will be punished stringently," Prime Minister said.

BHUBANESWAR — The death toll in the tragic train derailment in Odisha’s Balasore district has increased to 288, with around 800 people injured, the South Eastern Railway (SER) said on Saturday.

Prime MInister Narendra Modi on Saturday visited the accident site and took stock of the rescue and relief operations and also met with the accident survivors.

Modi said that the government will provide best medical treatment to the injured, adding that those found guilty for the mishap will not be spared.

Terming the horrific train accident in Odisha’s Balasore as an extremely serious incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that the government will not leave any stone unturned to provide best medical facility to the injured, besides vowing that those found guilty will be punished stringently.

Speaking to the media at the Balasore Hospital after meeting the injured passengers, Modi said, “People of several states were travelling in these two trains and many of them have lost someone. It is a painful incident and it is very tough to imagine about those who lost their lives.”

“Those who have died cannot be brought back. But the government will stand by their families. This is a very serious incident. A probe has been ordered. Whoever is found guilty will be punished stringently,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Railway Minister Ashwini Vishnaw also said that a detailed high-level inquiry will be conducted by the rail safety commissioner.

On Friday evening, 21 coaches of the Coromandel Express and SMVT-Howrah Super Fast Express derailed, leading to one of the worst railway accidents in the country in over two decades.

In a bulletin, the SE Railway said: “Train number 12841 Shalimar-Chennai, Coromandel Express and Train number 12864 Sir M Visvesvaraya-Howrah Superfast Express got derailed near Bahanaga Bazar Railway station at around 6.55 p.m. on June 2.

“Railways is taking every initiative to complete the restoration work. Meanwhile, a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the incident, which is to be conducted by the Commissioner of Railway Safety, South Eastern Circle,” it said.

The Prime MInister also thanked the Odisha government and the local administration for helping the passengers of the two trains and also thanked the local people who rushed to help as they were the first responders.

Modi also hailed the people of the area and the youth for donating blood and working through the night to help in the rescue and relief operation.

The Prime Minister said, “Railways put all its might in the relief operations and it is also working for track restoration. I visited the accident site and also spoke to the injured passengers. I don’t have words to express my grief. I pray to god to give everyone of us the courage to pass this hour of grief.”

Earlier, Modi went to the site of the accident that claimed at least 288 lives besides leaving over 900 injured, and took stock of the situation.

The Prime Minister said that special care must be taken to ensure that the bereaved families don’t face inconvenience and those affected keep getting all the assistance they need.

Railways has cancelled several trains on the Chennai-Howrah route, which is one the busiest routes of the national transporter.

Friday’s accident brought back the horrific memories of another deadly train accident in UP’s Firozabad in 1995, in which 358 people died.

In a similar accident on August 2, 1999, the Brahmaputra Mail collided with the Awadh-Assam Express near Gaisal in Assam, which claimed the lives of approximately 290 people. — IANS


Photo: Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with injured passengers of the Balasore train accident, in Balasore on Saturday.


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