The door panel which flew off a moving suburban train on Central Railway on Monday, severing the hands of two commuters, including a four year old, was without 14 of the 24 nuts and bolts, a preliminary inquiry has revealed. The officials suspect they could have been removed by thieves who wanted to sell them for scrap.
“These panels are fixed with 24 nut-bolts, and it is not possible for them to come off so easily. It is likely that some petty thieves took them out,” said a railway official requesting anonymity. This could have happened in the yard or at a station, he added.
Since all the nut-bolts were not removed, the panel did not come off when the train was stationary. However, as it started moving, the air-force ripped it off, the official said.
The door panel of the fourth compartment of an Ambarnath-Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus local came off between Nahur and Mulund railway stations and hit the side panel of the S-10 coach of Mumbai-Bengaluru Udyan Express.
Two passengers Chandrabai Hadkamal, 35, and Sharayu Kumbhar, 4, suffered grievous injuries and their hands had to be amputated.
Following the incident, railway authorities have ordered a thorough inspection of door-panels of all 117 trains. “The door panels would be thoroughly inspected by our supervisory staff and chains will be put up on the metal frames as an additional safety measure,” said AK Singh, Central Railway’s public relations officer.
He, however, refused to comment on the missing nut-bolts. “The reason behind the mishap will be clear after the inquiry report is submitted, which is expected soon,” Singh said. The inquiry is being conducted by railway commissioner (railway safety).
Meanwhile, the father of the child, Dev Appa Kumbhar, 30, has expressed concern over Sharayu’s future. “I am worried about him since his hand has been amputated at such a young age. The railway authorities have assured us of medical treatment, but considering his age, they should also make a job provision for him,” said Kumbhar, who works as a construction labourer.