Odisha train tragedy: 294 dead, Oppn demands rail minister's removal | Top points

Jun 04, 2023 09:05 AM IST

India's deadliest rail accident in more than 20 years left a blood-stained wreckage, with compartments smashed and some carriages flung far from the tracks.

The restoration work at the train accident site in Odisha's Balasore is underway on a war footing, the ministry of railways said on late Saturday night. The ministry informed that more than seven poclain machines, two accident relief trains, and three to four railway and road cranes have been deployed for the early restoration of the tracks. Chief Public Relations Officer of South Eastern Railway Aditya Kumar Chowdhary told ANI that traffic on the damaged tracks will be restored soon.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting a hospital to meet the victims of a three-train collision near Balasore, Odisha.(PIB via AFP)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting a hospital to meet the victims of a three-train collision near Balasore, Odisha.(PIB via AFP)

"The whole team is engaged. We are all busy at work. We are trying to restore traffic as soon as possible," Chowdhary said.

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The aerial visuals showed cranes and poclain machines working in tandem to remove the engine of a train from the track.

Odisha train crash LIVE updates

Death toll

At least 294 people have died and more than 1,000 got injured in one of India's worst accidents. The hospitals in Balasore are overwhelmed with a deluge of patients. The identification of the bodies is still underway as relatives of the passengers trying to find their loved ones.

Opposition raises questions

The opposition leaders, meanwhile, have raised questions on the railway safety issues and possible lapses that resulted in the country's deadliest rail accident in more than 20 years. While Congress has decided to wait till the rescue and relief efforts, party leaders, including Randeep Singh Surjewala and Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, have asked the rail ministry to come clean on the horrific accident.

Demands railway minister's removal

With the rescue operation almost over, the demand for the sacking of the rail minister has intensified.

“Modi government and rail Minister himself should be held solely responsible. Rail Minster must be sacked forthwith,” Surjewala said in a tweet as he posed numerous questions to the prime minister over the horrific accident.

Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel hit out at Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw saying that “he should tender his resignation.”

"The entire nation is saddened by the incident. Do they have morality or not...BJP which speaks about morality then he should resign," Baghel said.

PM Modi assures ‘strict action’

Prime Minister Modi visited the accident site in Odisha's Balasore district on Saturday and was briefed by Vaishnaw as well as officers of the disaster management teams. He also met some of the injured in the hospital.

"I do not have words to express my pain... No one would be spared and strong action would be taken against those found guilty. Instructions have been given to ensure proper and speedy investigation into the tragedy," Modi said, adding that more focus will be given to the security of rail passengers.

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