Hinting at possible sabotage, Union railway minister Mukul Roy has ordered an inquiry into the Tamil Nadu Express fire mishap that left 32 people dead on Monday.
"Prima facie it seems a sabotage. I have ordered an inquiry. An inquiry team headed by DK Singh the commissioner of Railway Safety of South Central Circle has been formed," stated Mukul Roy before rushing to the accident spot near Nellore in Andhra Pradesh.
The railway minister said he had already taken up the matter of "total safety awareness" with the Prime Minister and the Planning Commission. Roy claimed that the railways needs more funds to get appropriate technological support to ensure passenger safety. The ministry is preparing a detailed project report that we will be given to the Prime Minister, possibly within the first week of August.
"There are 20,000 trains running each day with nearly 2.2 million passengers, one small human error can cause extensive damage," Roy said.
The railways minister also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh each to the relatives of those killed in the mishap. He also announced a payment of Rs 1 lakh each for those grievously injured and Rs 25,000 each for those with minor injuries.
"Help desks have been opened at the spot, in Delhi and Chennai. We have also arranged a special train to carry the relatives from Chennai to Nellore. All efforts are being made to provide proper treatments to those who suffered injuries," Roy said.
Asked whether the blaze was caused by a short circuit the railway minister said nothing was being ruled out. "The fire may have also been caused due to some inflammable article carried by any passenger. The high power committee has been formed to investigate the exact reason behind the fire.”