Railways order inquiry into Gouthami Express fire
The Railways Ministry orders an inquiry to ascertain the cause of fire in Gouthami Express train in Andhra Pradesh.Updated: Aug 01, 2008 15:58 IST
The Railways Ministry on Friday ordered an inquiry to ascertain the cause of fire in Gouthami Express train in Andhra Pradesh.
The Commissioner of Railway Safety will hold the inquiry and submit the report at the earliest. Forensic experts are also examining the cause of the fire, said Railways Minister Lalu Prasad.
"Till now no proof of sabotage or use of explosive has come to our notice. However, the inquiry report will establish the cause of the fire," Prasad said.
Several passengers, including a pregnant woman, were charred to death and many others seriously injured when a fire broke out in the Gouthami Express train early morning.
Terming the incident as very "sad and unfortunate," Prasad said announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh and a job to the next kin of each victim killed. Those seriously injured will get Rs one lakh each, he said.
Since bodies are burnt beyond recognition, DNA tests will be conducted for identification.
Prasad said the train staff did not hear any explosion sound. "They only saw thick smoke emerging out of the coach suddenly."
Minister of State for Railways Naranbahi Rathwa, Railway Board Member Electrical Sukhvir Singh and senior RPF officials have left for the accident site to coordinate the relief and rescue work.
The mishap occurred in a forest area of Waranagal district, about 250 km from the state capital.
Railway staff disconnected 10 coaches from the front portion and nine coaches from the back, preventing the fire to spread further.
"The toll could have been higher if passengers had not alighted from other compartments after the train was stopped," said Prasad.
A special accident relief train reached the site and doctors give first aid to the injured before rushing them to hospital.
After the accident, several trains on Hyderabad- Vijaywada section were cancelled and some others diverted