Published: Mon, August 21, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Suresh Prabhu must take responsibility for Utkal Express derailment: Congress

Suresh Prabhu must take responsibility for Utkal Express derailment: Congress

At least 23 passengers were killed and 64 others were injured after an express train derailed in north India on Saturday, officials said, as rescuers battle to free people trapped in the wreckage.

Blaming "criminal negligence" for the Uttar Pradesh train accident, the Congress on Sunday said Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu must accept responsibility since he "failed to perform his primary duty to secure passenger safety".

Railways also suspended junior engineer and senior section engineer (permanent way), responsible for track maintenance, assistant engineer and senior divisional engineer. Railway officials said a medical train was on way and that trains on the route have been diverted through Shamli.

Many injured person have been discharged after first aid.

Four NDRF teams of skilled personnel equipped with sophisticated gas cutters, airlifting bags and other rescues material have, meanwhile, completed the work of rescue. "As of now our focus is on rescue and not on finding reasons for the accident".

The Northern Railways further stated, "The general public is invited to tender evidence at the inquiry and also send information relating to the accident to the Commissioner of Railway Safety".

Fourteen coaches of the high-speed Utkal Express jumped the rails, with one of them crashing into a house adjacent to the track near Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday evening.

Pointing to a derailed train coach, Chaudhary said, "This is exactly where I was sitting, with my mother and father".

The Indian Railways cracked the whip over Utkal Express Derailment tragedy, by taking action against 8 officials. "He will also find out whether laid down rules were followed", he added. "Strong measures should be taken for ensuring railway security", he added.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed his concern over the tragic incident and directed the commerce and transport department to work in coordination with the Railway department in rescue operation. "Fixed infrastructure on which the rail network runs like tracks, overhead equipment and signals are regularly maintained as per schedule".

"Some track maintenance equipment (apparently left behind by fix workers) were found at the accident site".

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