President and PM condole deaths in Utkal Express derailment, Cong target Modi

President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday expressed condolences to the grieving kin of the victims who lost their lives in the derailment of the Puri-Haridwar-Kalinga Utkal Express near Muzaffarnagar.

india Updated: Aug 20, 2017 00:47 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Kalinga Utkal Express,Kalinga utkal,kailnga
Coaches of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express train after it derailed in Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar on Saturday.(PTI Photo)

President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of leaders, cutting across party lines, condoled the loss of lives in a train accident in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district on Saturday evening.

“Sad at train derailment in UP; my thoughts are with deceased & their families. Injured are being rescued & provided relief #PresidentKovind,” Kovind tweeted soon after six coaches of Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express derailed near Khataulli station, killing at least 10 people.

Prime Minister also took to Twitter to express his condolences to the bereaved families.

“Extremely pained by the derailment of the Utkal Express in Muzaffarnagar. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased,” Modi posted.

Railway ministry and UP government were doing everything possible and providing all assistance required in the wake of the derailment, he said in another tweet.

Modi also wished the injured a speedy recovery.

This is the second train accident in less than a year in Uttar Pradesh.

State’s chief minister Yogi Adityanath took stock of the rescue operation and directed officials to take all possible action, a state government spokesperson said.

BJP president Amit Shah also directed his party’s Muzaffarnagar unit to join the rescue operation and help the people in need.

“Deeply pained by the tragic rail accident in Muzaffarnagar (U.P). My deepest condolences to the bereaved families, may injured recover soon,” he tweeted.

Fund-starved Indian railways are plagued by repeated derailments and accidents. Over 140 passengers died in a train accident in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur last year.

For the spate of accidents, Congress slammed the Modi-led NDA government at the Centre, pointing out 259 passengers have died and 899 were injured in 27 rail accidents since the BJP government came to power in 2014.

“Since Modi Govt took over in May 2014, 259 passengers have lost their lives and 899 injured in 27 train accidents. When will Govt wake up?” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a series of tweets.

“The important question is how are you going to take steps to prevent accidents. What are the measures the government is taking so that accidents do not happen and adequate safety measure were taken,” he said.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi also expressed deep concern over the growing number of train accidents and railway safety.

She hoped that a proper investigation would be conducted into the latest tragedy to ensure full accountability and urged the railway ministry and UP government to take adequate and immediate relief and rescue measures.

“Shocked to know about the unfortunate accident of Utkal Express in Muzaffarnagar. My thoughts with the families who lost their loved ones,” said a tweet from Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s official handle.

Meanwhile, railway minister Suresh Prabhu announced an ex-gratia of Rs 3.5 lakh for the kin of those who died in the accident and Rs 50 thousand for seriously injured.

He also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 25,000 for those who suffered minor injuries.

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik too announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia to the next of the kin of passengers from the state killed in the derailment.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Aug 19, 2017 21:50 IST